Wednesday 27 February 2013

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday? #195

I’ve been out and about today and came home to find my scheduled post hadn’t posted at all. Now it doesn’t make a lot of sense! Here’s the edited version.


In the background some red winceyette (reminds me of sheets I had when I was a little girl), a couple of notebooks (for my daughter), a new magazine (that I haven’t even opened yet), a pattern I was lucky enough to be given (more about that on Friday) and thread (to match the fabric from last week).

The spoils of my little trip to Salisbury to meet some lovely fellow WOYWWers. We had a great time looking at fabric and wool and chatting about anything and everything. Jan gave me a cute little fabric basket, which you can see on her blog today.

Right, there are a million other things I should be doing, so I’d better go do them. First on the list is making a jug of hot chocolate for my frozen children, when they walk through the door in a few minutes. Once I’ve got the washing in, I think I might need one too. Linking up with the lovely Julia and her merry band of desk hoppers.

PS For those who worry that clicking on my links will end up forcing them to buy pretty things (you know who you are!) I haven’t added any of those kind today, I promise. You’re quite safe!

PPS Hopefully I’ve worded that better now and it won’t upset anyone. That was never my intention. I don’t think it was being read in the spirit it was written.

Monday 25 February 2013

Hello Monday, Hello Back to School

Half term is over. It’s been lovely to have the children here for the week, but it’s back to school today. We’ve a busy week ahead, with lots to look forward to.


  • Hello to his GCSE Art final project being decided on and prepared for.
  • Hello to a trip to Salisbury to meet up with some fellow WOYWWers.
  • Hello to cutting the kits and teaching this week’s craft class.
  • Hello to her options meeting and starting the process of choosing, again.
  • Hello to driving 90 miles, to meet up with more crafty friends.
  • Hello to a whole weekend of not being Mummy.

What are you looking forward to this week?

Wednesday 20 February 2013

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday? #194

Not much crafting happening around here, with it being half term this week.


On my kitchen table, the parcel I just picked up from the sorting office. Customs charges to pay, which I have no problem with. I do object to the £8 charge the Post Office stick on top and all for the privilege of collecting your own mail. I wanted 4 yards of rabbits to back an Adventures with Alice quilt and couldn’t source it here.

Good thing it was on sale at a bargain $5 a yard. If you’ve ever bought quilting fabrics in the UK, you’ll know they are around £12 per metre here. I made sure I put as much as possible in the envelope for the shipping fee and added a couple of yards of the green and yellow to make a summer skirt.

That’s it from me. Lots more to see at Julia’s Place.

Monday 18 February 2013

Hello Monday, Hello Half Term

We made the most of the sunshine yesterday, to get out for a walk in the woods.


This was our destination. Beautiful Shearwater, shimmering in the afternoon sunlight. We shed our coats for a stroll around the lake, but were very glad of them during the two mile walk through the trees.

In 1988 the lake was drained and I walked there on a similarly cold and sunny day. During much harsher winters, in the late 19th and early 20th century, the lake would freeze over and ox roasts and carnivals would be held there. My Dad remembers his Grandmother talking about these events.

I love those kind of links to the past. The thought of my Great Grandmother walking out across the lake, 100 years ago. Myself walking along the bottom, 20 odd years ago and my own children walking around the edge just yesterday. Happy Half Term.

If you’re interested in reading more about it, there is an article I came across here.

Friday 15 February 2013

Friday Finds ~ Play Food From Felt

A couple of weeks ago, one of the lovely ladies who comes to my craft class, was telling us all about the play food she had been making for her grandson. She had found lots of ideas and inspiration online, although no actual instructions. When I got home, I had a look around to see what I could find.

A nice variety at Lemonwood Clock, from eggs and bacon to bread slices with peanut butter and jam/jelly filling. There are two printable PDFs, giving templates for everything shown in the picture including little trees broccoli and carrots. If you want something relatively quick and simple then these are the patterns for you.

Polly at Helping Little Hands hosted a Felt Food Cook-A-Long a couple of years ago and she has over two dozen different tutorials available, many with printable patterns. These are a little more complicated than the previous ones, but well worth the effort for the finished results. Lots of the items can be mixed and matched.

This picture shows what All Twisted Up calls Infinity Bread. It can be used flat with added pizza toppings, or rolled up to make wraps and fajitas. Scroll down on the link to find some inspirational photos. Instructions to make something very similar to the Infinity bread, can be found among the tutorials on my previous link.

With a bit of imagination and some felt, of course, you could make just about any kind of food. What I like most is being able to have a variety of ‘ingredients’ which can be put together to make lots of different meals. Much more exciting than the plastic food my own children had. They often substituted lego, which they had built their own food creations from! I know they would have loved this.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday #193

After getting everything together last week to make my Washi dress, I just couldn’t seem to get started. It’s been quite a while since I did any serious sewing and I think I’m a little bit scared of it. I just need to ‘get back on the horse’.


I’m going to repurpose this old dress into a zippered pouch.  The front is patchwork with some applique and embroidery. Inside out it looks like this….


….and the back is plain chambray. It even has a zip.


All I need is some matching thread and I’m ready to go.

To see what everyone else is up to, head on over to Julia’s place. See you there!

Monday 11 February 2013

My Month in Numbers ~ January 2013

I should warn you that this post turned into a bit of a food fest. If you haven’t eaten yet, or are sticking to a diet, you might want to look away now!


Eight red peppers turned into four jars of Sweet Chilli Jam. Delicious with cold meat and with the home made chicken fillet burgers we had on Saturday.


Four new recipes tried, including Pasta with Pancetta, Leek and Mushrooms.


Paprika Chicken from The Hairy Dieters book…..


…..with three more peppers.


Five kilos of sweet potatoes and carrots made into several litres of Meadow Barn soup to restock the freezer. It doesn’t last long in this cold weather.


Twenty bananas whizzed into the same number of smoothies, along with a variety of other ingredients. Including frozen forest fruits, which I found lurking at the bottom of the chest freezer. Best Before End: 19th October 2008! I’m still here.

That’s my little round up for January. I found it easier with a theme. Linking up with Julie and all the other counters at Notes on Paper.

Saturday 9 February 2013

Stampin’ Up Saturday ~ Punches Galore!

I designed this little project to make in my card class a couple of weeks ago. It was only when I came to pack my supplies, that I realised just how many punches I had used. I love the way they all work together so well, when layered up like this. I chose some patterned paper and picked the ink and card colours to match.


The sides were cut using the Two Tags die and than a rectangle of card was scored and folded to complete the basic gift bag. A piece of paper glued around it and the layered embellishment added on the front. It would work on a scrap book page too. A narrow strip of card for the handle, glued inside and secured with brads.


The matching card is very similar to one I’ve shared before, with a few more layers and a slight change of colour scheme. Making use of that wonderful honeycomb effect embossing folder and the beautiful butterfly stamps and punches.

  • Two Tags Bigz die
  • Papillon Potpourri stamp set
  • Elegant and Bitty Butterfly punches
  • Honeycomb embossing folder
  • Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder
  • Four Frames stamp set
  • Decorative Label punch
  • Large Oval punch
  • Scallop Oval punch

Why not take advantage of Sale-A-Bration to add to your own collection of punches? The Decorative Label with the Large and Scallop Oval would give you a qualifying purchase. Alternatively the Papillon Potpourri stamp set and two matching punches would also entitle you to pick a free gift from the leaflet.

If you’d like to find out more, then don’t hesitate to contact me at the usual place angelfishcrafts{at}gmail{dot}com

I’ve decided that from next month I will have a separate blog for Stampin’ Up and my paper craft classes. There is much more that I want to share and I don’t feel comfortable trying to build my business on this blog. I want to continue posting here in the spirit in which I started Staring at the Sea.  For creativity and community.

Next week I’ll have another gift bag for you, using the other tag on the Two Tags die and of course a matching card. Hope to see you then.

PS A couple of people said they would be interested in a tutorial for the little box I shared a few weeks ago and I’m working on that. Also instructions for today’s gift bag and the one for next week. I’ll run them as a series throughout March.

Friday 8 February 2013

Friday Finds ~ From Jeans To Quilts

I’ve been saving my son’s outgrown jeans for a while and still don’t have quite enough to make a whole bed-sized quilt. Not that I’m willing him into a growth spurt or anything, but another pair and I think I’m there. When I first came up with the idea I was thinking of a rag quilt, until I saw this beauty at Magpie’s Laundry.

It’s a rail fence quilt and each block is made up of several strips. The strips can vary in width, as long as the finished blocks end up the same size. The blocks are then alternated, so that the strips sit at 90 degrees to each other, across each row of the quilt. I love the border detailing, quilted to match the design of the blocks. Perfect. The other bonus of this quilt design is, being made up of smaller strips/pieces means less pairs of jeans needed.

Rag quilts are usually constructed from 6” or 8” squares, which means quite a lot of denim is wasted. It does however have one advantage, the process of quilting each block as you go and then joining them all together at the end. A good way to go if, like me, you’re a bit scared of trying to get the pieced top under your machine for quilting once it’s all put together.

This jean quilt takes yet another approach. Here the legs have been torn up to the width of the narrowest point and then chopped into a variety of lengths. This would be very quick to piece and has the advantage of the seams being offset. When you join the rows you won’t be fighting to sew through so many layers of denim, for which your machine will be most grateful. You can find the finished article and a tutorial at Piece N Quilt.

Decisions, decisions! Ah well, I’ve got until my son grows again to make one.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday? #192

Hello! It’s been a while. On my kitchen table today last night….


….some gorgeous fabric from Sew La La*, the pattern for a long coveted Washi Dress**, a roll of Swedish tracing paper*** and a 2 yard length of white cotton, to make a toile, found in a local charity shop for the princely sum of £1.50. Bargain!

I blogged about a brilliant project I was taking part in back in November and I’m sad to say I’ve not made much of all those plans. Last night we had our weekly virtual Sew-A-Long, hosted by Morwhenna on Facebook. It gave me the push I needed to gather everything together ready to get started.

I’ve showed you mine, are you going to share yours?

* I can highly recommend Sew La La for fast and friendly service. As well as a range of very reasonably priced cottons there is an array of haberdashery, including some wonderful patterned bias bindings and heart shaped Union Jack buttons. Oh my!

** Originally the pattern was only available as a download to print out at home and I didn’t fancy trying to put together a jigsaw of A4 paper with yards of sticky tape!

*** I eventually tracked down a UK supplier with the help of a kind lady on Twitter.

Monday 4 February 2013

One Little Word

At the end of last year a couple of things happened that changed my world. If you’re a regular around here, you’ll already know about the passing of my lovely Aunty, but there was something else which affected me even more. One of my oldest school friends lost his twin brother two days before that, on my Aunty’s birthday as it happens. He was 43 years old. My age, more or less. How could this be?

I went to his funeral, on the day the long promised snow decided to put in an appearance. We stood in a field and listened to the humanist celebrant talk about his life. It was beautiful and touching and somehow quite magical to be there, among the trees, in the snow. He loved to make snow angels for his nephews and godchildren and we were invited to make some, right there, in his memory. If there is such a thing as a perfect funeral, then I think this was it.

Afterwards we went to a local hotel, in a town where I spent a lot of time in my late teens. I met up with a couple of old friends, one I’d been expecting to see and am in fairly regular contact with and another I hadn’t seen since we left school. It was great to see them and talk about our shared memories from those days. At the same time sad that it was something like this that had brought us back together again. It used to be weddings.

Spending time with the people who knew me way back when has made me reflect, probably a little more than is good for me, this past month. I’ve been thinking a lot about the people we were in our teens, the person I was then. The year I turned 17, I took my O levels, jumped out of a plane and travelled around India for a month. It was a pretty amazing year. Where did that fearless girl go? I want her back.

You might be wondering by now, just what this has to do with One Little Word. I’m getting there, honest!

What was great about those years, wasn’t just the things that I did, but the connections that I made with the people I met. It continued when I left home and started college. I met some fantastic friends, many of whom are still part of my life now, more than twenty years on. I don’t see them all quite as often as I’d like, but it’s good to know they are there.

This year I am going to make more of an effort to strengthen the connections with those friends and maybe make a few new ones. I’d also like to try and re-connect with my brave 17 year old self. I’m sure, if I dig deep enough, I can find her again. There you have it, my word for the year: connect.

I’m also hoping to connect with more people through my blog and I plan to post much more regularly and get into a blogging (and commenting) groove again. December is always a difficult month for us, but I only managed two posts last year and I didn’t do a lot better in January. Here’s to a new start.

The sky has just turned very black so I’m away to rescue my washing. I’ll be back on Wednesday, sharing my work space, wherever that may be. Another great way to connect with some other crafty folk out in blog land. Maybe I’ll see you there.