Christmas 2016

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Maybe like us you’re still in the middle of entertaining and visiting? 


(This beautiful card was made by Paul’s sister). 

We had a lovely day Sunday although we kept it very much as a normal day of rest with a chapel service in the morning and carols and bible readings of the Christmas story at Sunday school in the afternoon. It was lovely to have a day to really savour the real meaning of Christmas without all the other distractions.

We saved most of the gifts until Monday and also had our Christmas dinner then too. 


Tilly had a great time playing with the wrapping paper! 


I had a lovely super soft new dressing grown from Hubby and some warm luxurious boot slippers and a wallet from Abi and Paul.


Josh did his own shopping on Amazon and got me this cute coaster and some stickers. He also disappeared in the craft room one afternoon and surprised me with this! It reminded me just how special hand made gifts are. 


I had asked for money from most of the rest of the family and will be putting it towards some crafty bits. Watch this space!!….

The other excitement was my stitching Santa parcels. Firstly, thanks so much Sheila for organising this one again. 

I entered both the sewing and yarny version and got two very generous parcels. One was from Cathy (nanacathy.com) who also did mine last year. 


She had made some lovely ornaments to add to my tree. So special as I like my ornaments to have meaning. A lovely knitted bag and a wrist warmer and hat set. I tried to take a selfie but that didn’t work so Abz came to the rescue! 


Then there was some tinsel yarn and some gorgeous galaxy yarn with sequins in it. I think the tinsel yarn in that color would make a great cat, I’ll have to see what I can come up with. I’m thinking maybe a scarf for the galaxy yarn? 


Then there was the essential chocolate in the shape of a teddy and PINK chocolate coins. So cute, I’ve never seen pink ones before.


Oh and not forgetting the owl notebook that I’ll have to keep it off Abi’s way and some gorgeous hand cream. Thanks so much Cathy, it was all just so lovely.



Then in my other parcel from sewing Nikki was another generous lot of gorgeous goodies. A beautiful felt bag, 


several mini skeins of yarn. A lovely box, decorated with intricate embroidery with the most adorable buttons inside. 



Two books, both of which I’ve been tempted to buy in the past but never had and a cute candle that I’m thinking Nikki may have made? 

 Oh yes and not forgetting the lovely felt robin that’s another great addition to my tree ornament collection and a digital stitch counter that you wear on your finger, brilliant! 


It was all lovely Nikki! 

I just feel so thoroughly spoilt and overwhelmed at the thought, time and care that went into these parcels. Thanks so much ladies.

Lastly, a friend and I did our own little crafty goodies swap where I got a few more lovely bits. A scarf, hand knitted fingerless gloves with the flap over mitt bit, some gorgeous fabric and wooden buttons with hand made with love on them!! Also a large cup and saucer and a snail tape measure. 


It seems as though Christmas is flying by! I’m hoping to spend the rest of the evening getting organised with some goal setting and planning, hoping I can be more efficient with my time in 2017.

 From time to time I plan out my days and get so much more done. I stick to it as much as can but I don’t let interruptions bother me or get stressed if I get behind or don’t complete my list but just tell myself that God’s plan for my day was obviously different and His way is always best! 

I’m hoping I can get in the habit of regular planning and I want to set goals such as; do something special as a family once a month, meet one of my friends for coffee once a fortnight, phone someone I rarely see once a month, do a random act of kindness each week etc! Then maybe, maybe, something similar for housework goals . 

Are you making goals, plans etc for the new year? I have good intentions but I’m not very good at sticking to plans, especially if it involvess being too organised. I’ll blame having a creative brain! Do you have any tips or tricks for sticking to goals? 

In case I don’t get back on here before Sunday, I hope you all have a wonderful and creative new year.

Sharon xx

Handmade Gifts.

I have been thinking about what really made this Christmas special. We had a lovely family Christmas, a children’s carol service at the Sunday School, lots of time with family and friends, fantastic food and amazing gifts, looking back it makes me think just how favoured we are.

The weather wasn’t great but we didn’t get flooded as many did in England this year, we have a lovely little home filled with love to celebrate in and friends and family to spend precious time with and remember those who are no longer with us.

But what really stood out to me this year was the handmade gifts.  I make a lot of gifts to give but very rarely receive them but this year was different.  First there were the lovely bits in my Stitching Santa parcels made by Jane and Cathy which you can read more about here.  I was overwhelmed by the time and thought they had put into my parcels.

This year the children both made me gifts too and they are far more precious than anything they could have bought.  Abi spent hours embroidering me a beautiful framed verse and two pictures, she didn’t quite get time to finish them so I shall have the pleasure of seeing her work on them too.  It was all her own design and I just love them so much. Here is the one she finished.IMG_1232

Josh painted me a canvas, a lovely cheerful sunset scene completely out of his head.

At the beginning of the holidays Josh also shut himself away in the craft room for a whole day and made gifts.  There were these coasters with fancy stitching done on Abi’s machine,

A little pillow that is just right to put behind my head.  The floral fabric has been sewn on by hand

and a drawstring bag that I did have to just help him with the button holes for the cord.

All of these gifts are far more special than the most expensive gift that was bought for me and it has made me realise just how special handmade gifts can be if they are given to someone who will really appreciate the time and love put into them.

Josh was also given a budget to buy us a gift each on Amazon and this is what he ordered for me!

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I am not always sure how my handmade gifts will be received but this year I watched and was pleased to see how happy everyone seemed with them.  The reading pillows were a great hit with the boys as were the pj cases with the girls (faces blurred as some of my family are not very keen on the internet).

and the scarves and scrabble frames got lots of happy comments too!

How do you feel about handmade gifts both to make and receive?

I am looking forward to sharing another creative year with you all.

Sharon xx

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!!

I had great plans of writing a ‘Happy Christmas’ post on Christmas Eve but with visitors and last minute preparations it just didn’t happen.  I feel rather bad about it and just wanted to say that I hope you all had a lovely day.  There may be some who had an empty place for the first time this year as we did last year or are having a tough time in other ways.  I hope that you found a little joy among the sadness.

We had our traditional candlelit tea on Christmas Eve with friends round and had an amazing time, it is a long time since I have laughed so much!  I can’t believe I completely forgot to take photos though.

The children loved their handmade gifts (or most of them, Abi had a laugh at a couple but we are close enough to understand each other and laugh together).

Stockings are opened at 6am in our bed with a rather sleepy Hubby watching on.

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We gave Abi an Embellishing machine.  I had found one for 1/3 of the original price and she was so pleased with it.  Of course, I shall need to test it out for her 🙂

and Josh spent some time trying to puzzle out how to get into the secret compartment of a wooden box.

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A lot of food has been eaten and  the presents have all gone from under the tree and have been replaced with rather a lot of gifted calories! Naughty but rather nice.

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I won’t be around much for the next few days. Monday and Wednesday we hope to go out and all of the rest of the days we have visitors here right into New Year!  It will be hard work and I am sure my lupus etc will have a whinge  about it but I love the fact that friends and family feel able to just ask to come over so I never say no!

I need to blog about my stitching Santa parcels too, I loved them so much and want to tell you all about them soon.  I’m looking forward to using the crafty goodies I received in them.

I wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Creative New Year and may God truly bless you each.

Sharon xx

Stitching Santa

Just a quick post about the Stitching Santa.  My two parcels have both been sent out and one has already been opened! You can read about it here.

Here’s a little look at what I put in my Stitching Santa parcels!

For the bought part of the sewing parcel I bought these lovely soft, brushed cotton fat quarters and a sewing book.

 

For the Yarny parcel I was a bit stumped what to get as the person I was buying for had nothing yarny on their blog at all! So I bought some gorgeous yarn that would ideal for mixed media textiles as well as knitting/crochet, some scarf yarn and a crochet book.

I added some different fruit tea bags to each parcel and then made some bits for both parcels.  There were three Christmas ornaments, ribbon trees, made using stash ribbon and gifted vintage beads.

There was a little pine cone child with bobble hat, gloves and scarf but I have lost the photos for them!  I also made some felt poinsettias.

I decopatched two Altoid tins and filled them with vintage buttons from my collection given to me by grandparents.

I made some charms/stitch markers, one with a little mini chalk board,

and a Japanese knot bag as a project bag, with a pocket and a tag to attach the stitch markers.

I had such fun making these up and I really looking forward to seeing what is made with the bits I sent.

I have received both of my parcels and to be honest I am rather excited about it.

This has been such fun to do, thanks so much Sheila for organising it 🙂

Happy Crafting and a very Happy Christmas!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

Christmas Preparations and Ouch!!

Warning, if you are in the kitchen preparing for Christmas don’t unblock the blender with your finger!

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I know, I mean how can anyone be so stupid?  ….Obviously I can.

I had been pushing myself too far, the Lupus had fogged my brain and I just didn’t even think about unplugging the blender before unblocking it.

Thankfully I am right handed and it was a finger on my left hand that I cut.  I have 3/4″ cut on my knuckle just below the nail and another that went right across my nail cutting right through it and some way into the skin below.  (I could bend my finger where a bend shouldn’t be!)

This all happened on Friday, I was in the middle of cooking a mini Christmas dinner with Abi as Abi and boyfriend won’t be with us for lunch Christmas day. The plan was to have a lovely dinner and then all put the tree up together.  Well even with a nasty cut there was no way I was going to leave the dinner so I just held kitchen roll really tight around it while Abi and Josh carried on with getting the dinner.

After about 3/4 hour it was still bleeding a lot and I knew I needed to get it sorted but the thought of Accident and Emergency on a Friday night was not appealing.  Then a friend called by whose son works in the local A and E, she said he was at home that day and whisked me off to his home where he fixed it for me, yay! I was so grateful to them and we did get our dinner eventually.

Then it was time to decorate the tree.  We started by putting the lights on and then add all of the ornaments (tinsel is banned from the tree!).

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We started a new family tradition with our children and that is that each year I get them a new ornament for the tree.  The idea being that one day when they have their own home all being well they will all their childhood ornaments to take with them.  Do you have any Christmas traditions?

A lot of Abi’s ornaments are owl themed

With a couple of Willow Tree ornaments recently added.

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I love the Willow Tree range and I have several of the larger ornaments myself.  They are very simple and although they don’t have facial features they seem to express so much.

Josh’s are a little more boyish.

This year I gave him a Ferrari key ring to hang on the tree as he so keen on super-cars at the moment but apparently it was too special to go on the tree and he has put it safe in his bedroom ready for when he gets his Ferrari!!  He has high ambitions that boy!

and of course I couldn’t leave Abi’s boyfriend out…

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There are also other ornaments, among them some that I or the children made.

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a few robins

and a bauble that was Hubby’s as a boy.

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and some other favourites collected over the years.

including a few with photos.

I just love this time of year so much.  Christmas is just such a special time, both with my faith and also the time it gives you to spend with family.

Have fun preparing for your Christmas and Happy Crafting!

Sharon xx

I love to hear from you, so please feel free to like or leave a comment.  I will try to reply as soon as possible. x

 

 

Exciting Stuff…Felting and a little Woodwork!

Okay, so it doesn’t take a lot to get me excited, especially if it’s creative but I have itching to show you the Christmas card I designed for this year and also what Hubby made me that I mentioned recently.

I have said a couple of times that I have doing some more 3d needle felting and I am finally ready to reveal!

For my Christmas card I wanted to create a winter woodland scene out of felt.  I am still very much a beginner to this, having only made a basic owl and a tiger before. It was challenging and the creatures could be a lot better but I am happy with the overall effect.  The first animal I made was a rabbit.

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He was fairly simple as only needed a basic shape, faces I always find challenging but he is rabbity enough.

Next I made an owl, he again was a fairly basic shape and so not too difficult.

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Lastly I made a fallow deer.  She was a lot harder.  There was something therapeutic about taking a lump of fluff and jabbing it into a rough shape, gradually adding more fibre to get a basic body, then a bit of colour.

Even chopping her about to gain the right proportions!

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I was glad of those finger guards, especially when doing the legs!

I spent hours working on her and she is a big part of what messed my neck up so in the end I had to just stop.  There is still something not quite right about her but I have to tell myself that I am only learning and not be too fussy!

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Next I wet felted the background in white and cream, laying on rough strip of brown for trees,

I then needle felted a little more detail,

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made a base and a tree stump for the owl and put it all together.

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Then came the photography, Abi took the final image for me and I edited it to  give it a softer outline.

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I used Vista Print to do the cards as they have a half price deal on at the moment. This is the first time I have had my own design printed and it was so exciting when they arrived in the post (little things!!)

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Now on to what Hubby made me… an Amish style yarn swift.

Lately I have bought more yarn in a skein and even using my ball winder it was such a faff and I was constantly getting in a tangle trying to unwind the skein.

I had looked for tutorials on you tube, watched a couple (this was the most helpful) and then joined Hubby in the garage to make it.

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First we measured two 30″ lengths of wood and sanded them to smooth any rough edges.  It was 2″ wide by 1″ deep.

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Next we found the centre of both lengths and Hubby cut away a chunk half the depth of the wood and 2″ wide in the centre of each.

He then glued these together to form a cross and when dry he drilled a hole through the centre.  We then measured every 1 1/2 ” on each strut of the cross and drilled holes halfway deep to take the dowels (lolly/popsicle sticks).

Next Hubby cut a scrap of wood to a 17″ square for the base and drilled a hole in the centre.

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Hubby then put a bolt up through the hole in the base, added a washer and some nuts topped by another washer to lift the cross,

put the cross on the top adding another washer and a wing nut to hold it loosely in place and it was done!

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It works amazingly and makes winding your skein just so much easier, thanks Hubby!!

So that was my exciting things, maybe they don’t excite you but I am really chuffed with both of them 🙂

Have a great week and Happy Crafting!

Sharon xx

 

 

 

October Challenge – A strange Month Really!

I can’t believe another month is nearly gone and only two more until Christmas!

I had October all planned out, I got my head around my Winter wips in this post here and was planning on using every spare minute to squeeze in some extra gift making time.  As is so often the case things just didn’t go to plan.

Firstly my neck played up putting a hold on crochet for a few days and then again a week later because I did too much too soon but it’s much better now thankfully.

Then Josh was quite poorly and had a high temperature for a week followed by Hubby who was ill for a few days so there was rather a lot of looking after to be done, day and night, steaming Josh when he got croupy and cooling him down when he was delirious etc. I obviously would rather they weren’t ill but I loved having the extra opportunity to do things for them.  Josh is quickly becoming more independent, usually walking to and from school now and spending every minute he can playing outside.  So in a strange way it was actually nice to have him relying on me a bit more, cuddling up in bed and reading stories.  Thankfully he still loves a cuddle and the darker evenings should mean a bit more time indoors. Remind me of this if I complain in the winter wishing he could get outside to play :o)

We snatched a few busy days away at the in-laws at the end of half term, had a lovely time and came home just in time for me to try to restore some order to the house ready for me to have a little op on Tuesday.  I didn’t have to have a general anesthetic but my my blood pressure dropped really low afterwards and yesterday I just didn’t have any strength at all.  Still, I did manage just a little crochet which is great because at least I feel I’m getting somewhere and today I managed to get the lunch boxes done before I had to crash out again.
Mum has been brilliant as usual and gave me a hand yesterday she also did a couple of really kind extras and used up some windfall apples I had been given to make us a crumble and cleaned my fridge out!

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Josh kindly decided that he would cook dinner.  (He gave Hubby and Abi the job of washing up!) Mum had put jacket potatoes in the oven and there was cold meat in the fridge but Josh wanted to make something else.  This is what he brought up to me!

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He had added baked beans and tomatoes to the jackets and meat and then to go with it there was toast with a chocolate sauce he had made!!  He gave it to me and said that the sauce should help me because it was really sweet as it had sugar and syrup in it.  His comment didn’t have any significance until bedtime when he asked me what it meant if my blood sugar had been low?  He had overheard Hubby talking about my blood pressure being low and thought he had said blood sugars, hence the extremely sweet chocolate sauce with my dinner. It was rather special to know that he had made the sauce especially to help me.

Josh was also very good at occupying himself yesterday, he started off outside but then it rained heavily so he told me he would be painting a canvas he had for Hubby and me for Christmas.  When he came upstairs later on he had a rather colourful top, he assured me that it was only an old t-shirt anyway (the usual excuse if he gets his clothes dirty) so I sent him down to soak it in soapy water.

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This was the colour of the water this morning, at first I thought it was paint but then I realised that he had used rather a lot of washing up liquid. The painting bits will have to be put away tonight,

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I did rescue one of Abi’s best paintbrushes!

Anyhow, after all that rambling I shall show you what I made for my challenge this month.
For Josh’s stocking make it was a simple mobile phone case for when out cycling, running etc. Yes, it doesn’t seem possible but Josh is nearly the age (11th birthday) when he will be allowed a mobile phone ready for when he moves up to secondary school.

I took a stretchy sock, and stitched a seam to get rid of the heel,

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trimmed the heel away,

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cut off the toe and zig zagged the raw edge,

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folded the sock back on itself wrong sides together and machined the two edges together at the back half of the top,

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I then stitched a seam from top to bottom on the left and right of this seam, this left me with a tube with a pocket.  You put this on your upper arm and slip your phone into the pocket.

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.Abi kindly modelled it for me.

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For myself I made a little solution to a problem some of us with too many wips have. The problem I have is when I pinch the crochet hook from one project to use in another or the hook gets separated from my project.  When I next go back to it I then have to try to remember/work out what size hook I was using and it is so frustrating if I get wrong!  I could write it on a piece of paper but I have tried that and they seem to grow legs so I wanted to devise something that could be attached to the project or bag.

So I bought a packet of numbered beads to make some markers.

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I didn’t have enough fives so I used a # instead, eg 3.5 is 3#.  Also the 6 and 9 are the reverse of each other so I used the heart bead from the pack before the nine to show which way up it was.

I also decided to use some of these vintage beads that a 91 year old lady gave me recently

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I took a length of wire and bent the end with round nosed pliers,

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threaded on the beads

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and bent the other end of the wire round

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added a jump ring

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and added a lobster claw clip

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now I just need to make a case to keep them in. (oops, and add a lobster to claw to the number2!!)

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My make for Abi is a crocheted beanie hat, I am just waiting for the pompom to arrive in the post and then I will show you that properly!

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In the background you can just see an old quilt, I want to show you more of this sometime.  I was given it by a lady in her eighties about 20 years ago, it was an English paper pieced patchwork quilt top that her Great Aunt had been in the process of making when she turned blind, it was over a hundred years old when it was given to me.  I didn’t really know anything about quilting then so I just added a border, batting and backing and to quilt it I stitched ribbon flowers into each centre hexagon.  It is on our bed at the moment but sometime I would like to take it apart and hand quilt it properly.  It was made from scraps and I love the muted colours and the delicate patterns.

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So although I didn’t achieve a great deal this month at least I (almost) finished my October Monthly Challenge!

I am trying not to get stressed about my gift making but just go with the flow, hopefully it will all come together in the end.  I just want to enjoy what I make, I want love and care to be in each stitch and for them not to be rushed or as Jenny over at Elefantz is running,

homemade – stitched with heartstrings, so here’s to a productive November!

Happy Crafting!!

Sharon xx