Wednesday 31 December 2014

What’s On Your Workdesk? Wednesday #291

Here we are on the last day of the year and my desk remains behind the sofa for now. Today’s work space on show is the ironing board.


All the pieces, for a rabbity hare, cut from delicious wool felt and a scrap of Liberty for the insides of the ears and pads of the feet. The Liberty beneath is not my ironing board cover, but the fabric I’ve just pressed for her simple dress. It’s the perfect little project to sew in front of the TV.

I’d like to thank everyone who stops by to read my ramblings and most of all those that take the time to leave a comment. They are very much appreciated. It’s good to know I’m not talking to myself and that some of the things I say resonate with others. Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year.

Monday 29 December 2014

Me on Monday ~ Christmas 2014

Today I’m quietly reflecting, while I watch Moonrise Kingdom catch up with the ironing, on the past few days of family festivities.

On Tuesday….


…..the children decorated the tree.

On Wednesday…...


…..I packed the hampers…..


…..ready to deliver……


…..and whipped up a chocolate tart for the Christmas pudding haters.

On Thursday we….




…..drank (the shandy that defied logic) and were merry with the inlaws.

On Friday…..


…..we did it all over again at home with Mum.

And we had clementines, always clementines, because…..


…..”Nobody likes the tangerines.”

That was ours. How was yours? Waving to Sian for the last time this year.

Wednesday 24 December 2014

What’s On Your Workdesk? Wednesday #290

Julia asked us to share (if we had the time) how we leave our desks over the Christmas holiday. Mine has been de-legged and tucked away behind the sofa, to make way for the Christmas tree. The kitchen table is empty too. Cleared and cleaned, ready to bake up a storm this morning. All that’s left for me to say is,

“Wishing you all a….


….from our home to yours.

Sunday 21 December 2014

Christmas Club ~ Cowboys & Angels

For the last time this year, I’m dusting off a Christmas memory with Sian.

At Christmas we….

amelia angel

….took old sheets, corrugated cardboard and tinsel….

amelia angel 4

….a (too large) glittery purple hat….

amelia angel 3

….and an older cousin’s page boy waistcoat….

amelia angel 2

….and turned our children into cowboys and angels.

Thanks Sian for bringing back Christmas Club. Same time next year?

Friday 19 December 2014

Friday Smile ~ Penguins

I’ve been meaning to join in with Annie’s cheerful meme for a long time and today I’ve finally made it! This little chap seemed the perfect candidate for raising a smile. Who couldn’t do with one of those on a Friday afternoon?


It was my last class of the year on Wednesday and if you visited then you would have seen the little penguins being assembled.


I threw it open to my class goers to choose what they would like to make. I thought it was probably a little late into the month to be making Christmas cards….


….but apparently not. I was asked for a card suitable to give to grandchildren. I didn’t think I could top last year’s tumbling gingerbread man so opted for a revamp….


….and swapped him for a penguin. Using icy blues instead of the festive red.

I’ll be back on Sunday with the final edition of Sian’s Christmas Club. Hope to see you then.

Wednesday 17 December 2014

What’s On Your Workdesk? Wednesday #289

I’m sure you’re all as busy as I am, as we hurtle towards the festivities, so I’ll keep  it brief today.


At the kitchen table, on Tuesday afternoon, turning owls into penguins. As you do.

I’m off to teach my last class of the year this morning and I’ll be round to catch up with you all when I get home. See you over at Julia’s.

PS You can most likely ignore the Word Verification and just hit publish without filling the number in the box. The exception being Wordpress users. Sorry.

Sunday 14 December 2014

Christmas Club ~ Celebrating Seventies Style

It’s time for another edition of Sian’s Christmas Club.

At Christmas we….


….gathered at my Gran’s house for Christmas lunch.* After the washing up had been done and the Queen’s Speech watched, my Uncle would pour a drink for the grown ups and the present opening would commence. My turn to give them out that year, resplendent in crackly green polyester and with only half a head.


At tea time, around the kitchen table, we’d have sandwiches, followed by trifle and Christmas cake. Cousin M’s turn to cut that. I love that her lava lamp, a much longed for gift, is in the picture. My brother’s turn to have half a head.


Back to the living room and we’d be allowed the crackers from the mantel piece and off the tree. I love my Mum’s face in this picture. My brother had clearly had enough of his smart tie by this point. The waste paper basket would be almost overflowing with nut shells by now. Not sure what the game board on the floor is. Anyone?


We’d stay the night and spend the next morning playing with our cousins, before driving on to my other Aunty and Uncle for a Boxing Day lunch. I’d have to wear my Christmas dress again for them, which is why I’m dressed the same and my cousins are not. The mantel piece now free of crackers and oranges, but the chocolate decorations were still on the tree. We’d be given those in the new year when it was taken down.

The composition (and the focus) may not be the greatest, but I’m so happy to have these photos. I haven’t cropped them at all, because I love all the little details that have been captured inadvertently. The stuff that memories are made of.

* I think this was 1977.

PS I’ve been ignoring the Word Verification that has appeared on a lot of blogs recently. I write my comment and hit publish, without filling the numbers in the box. Seems to work for me.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

What’s On Your Workdesk? Wednesday #288

Last Wednesday was one of those days that you just want to forget and I didn’t make it to the desk hopping fun. I managed to squeeze in a little bit of crafting yesterday and here’s the kitchen table just as the light was going.


I’m making little boxes. When you lift the lid, the cut out shape reveals the four tea lights nestling inside. This version is going to be blue and white with snowflakes.


This is the one we made in class. You can see the star shaped peep hole, which is underneath the lid, in the first shot. There was a card to match, but I’ve already given it away and forgot to take a photo.


Finally a mini cracker treat box. Perfectly sized for a lip balm (or sweets/chocolate) and made using the ever useful Envelope Punch Board. Three more projects to come up with for next week’s class and then I’m done for the year. Just like that.

I said it yesterday, but I’ll say it again: Apologies to anyone having difficulty getting past Word Verification. I seem to be unable to turn it off. I have tried and tried. I don’t think it’s just me. It has reared its ugly head on several blogs that I visit regularly. Come on Blogger, give us a break!

Tuesday 9 December 2014

One Photo in Twenty Words ~ Carcassonne

Joining in with Abi’s meme, over at Creating Paper Dreams, and taking inspiration from the theme of her Christmas Club post.


Playing Carcassonne at the kitchen table and suddenly noticing that the table cloth completed the road. Who needs the tiles.

PS Despite the fact that I have selected the “No” option for Word Verification, it is still appearing. Apologies to anyone having difficulty commenting. I’m at a loss.

Monday 8 December 2014

Me on Monday

These Mondays are coming around a little bit too fast for my liking this month!

It was a start as we mean to go on (with a treat of hot chocolates and a muffin for me and my girl), stroganoff cooking, Christmas shopping with her friend, Skyping/gaming with his friends, mini cracker making, first Christmas cards arriving, Never Let Me Go watching (naughty mummy substituting the film for the book. Do as I say, not as I do!) for GCSE helping, personal statement fine tuning (summing yourself up in 4000 characters, including spaces, is not easy), croissant warming, beef roasting, Christmas Club story reading/memory sharing (3 left to comment on, I’ll get there), tea in front of the telly (a rarity around here) kind of weekend.


Monday found me making the most of the sunshine to pre wash some fabrics….


….and watching an episode of Glee….


….while I ironed them. I have Homeland to catch up with still and Intruders (anyone else watching that?) but I was in the mood for something a little lighter, after the heavy subject matter of Never Let Me Go. There is a scene in the film (don’t worry, no spoilers from me) when one of the characters stands in the road and lets out his frustration. It’s a heart wrenching moment. All the more so for me as it could have been my boy standing there, having a meltdown. December is always a difficult month, but throw in a trip to London at the start and mocks looming after Christmas and we have a tough few weeks ahead of (and one thankfully now behind) us.

Waving to Sian again this evening, with grateful thanks. Without her clever ideas I wouldn’t have posted anything yet this month.

PS There seem to be some problems with Word Verification on Blogger at the moment. As far as I can tell it’s turned off, as always here, but if it’s coming up for you please let me know. Thank you.

Sunday 7 December 2014

Christmas Club ~ Pantomime

I didn’t have a blog of my own, when Sian hosted the Christmas Club, back in December 2010. I’ve shared some Festive memories here previously though, so I had a quick trawl through the archives to make sure I didn’t repeat myself. Then I saw this post from December 2011 and I knew that I wanted to repeat myself!

At Christmas we….


….put on a show. Here I am, circa 1976, playing the cat in The Four Musicians of Bremen. How I loved to be on the stage. It was my absolute favourite thing about Christmas, throughout my primary school years. From Snow White’s wicked stepmother, through Saint George and Mary, to Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat, I loved every single part I got the chance to play.


My little brother wasn’t quite so keen. Here he is playing one of the “Two Little Dickie Birds” from the rhyme. Whether he was Peter or Paul, I can no longer recall, but I do remember that he didn’t want to wear the red tights. They were mine and he had to fold the feet over inside his daps, because the legs were much too long.

Thank you Sian for bringing back the Christmas Club and giving me the chance to join in this time around.

PS There are different photos and more of a story in the other post, if you missed it.

Monday 1 December 2014

Me on Monday

It was a super busy weekend here. I spent most of Friday baking. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll be well aware of this already!


Sticky Clementine Cake, White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies and lastly….


….Rice Crispy Squares drizzled with dark chocolate.

Then it was an early train catching, blissful hour of uninterrupted reading, brisk walking (to a warm welcome), coffee drinking, chatting, cake eating, pattern preparing, felt cutting, Secret Santa present opening, trestle table folding, chair stacking, goodbye waving (’til next time) kind of Saturday.

Followed by a coffee and croissant breakfasting, outlet shopping (for a sleeping bag and walking socks), chicken roasting, bag packing (for a politics conference and Kip in a Ship) sort of Sunday.


Today me and my boy had a 5.30am start to get him on the coach for London. This afternoon found me cutting an extra kit for tomorrow, after a last minute phone call from a prospective new member of the class. You can probably tell from the quality of the photo that it was getting dark already. Although that could have just been my left handed photography!

A very late wave back to Sian and I’m nearly ready for my bed. Night all.

Wednesday 26 November 2014

What’s On Your Workdesk? Wednesday #286

Nothing today, or indeed yesterday. Well nothing crafty anyway. I took delivery of a large order of books. It came in not one, but two boxes and I have been wrapping them, before packing them back in the boxes, ready to deliver or place under our tree, when the time comes. I can assure you I am not usually this organised!


I do have something to share though. Remember that screen card (you can see the finished article here, if you’re interested) that was in the prep stages last week? I put the punched out stars to good use as the ‘filling’ for this shaker card. A simple stamped background and envelope flap to match. A glittery star for added bling and some silky silver ribbon for that all important touchability factor.

Short and sweet this week. Linking up with Julia and the deskers, of course.

Monday 24 November 2014

Me On Monday

It was a college visit discussing, options considering, Gran visiting, parcel delivery missing, mock exams revising, chip frying, Strictly watching kind of Saturday. Then a Gran and Pappy visiting, roast pork crackling crisping, school uniform ironing, wish list consulting, book ordering, Homeland watching kind of Sunday.


This morning I have been chasing up missing letters from consultants. In the end I had to go to the surgery with my own copy so that my GP can write a script for my girl. I’ll be going back later to collect it. I’m not leaving it to chance that it makes it to the pharmacy. I have to make sure she has those meds when she needs them.


In between the phone calls, collecting that missed parcel and tripping to the surgery, I’m mostly attempting to assemble this giant jigsaw puzzle (otherwise known as a PDF pattern) and waiting for the fabric on the line to dry.

What are you up to today? Waving to Sian, whose idea this little weekend recap is.

Saturday 22 November 2014

Stampin’ Up Saturday ~ Holiday Home

On Wednesday you would have seen the component parts for this card on my kitchen table and here they are all assembled.


I find it very tricky to photograph these screen cards to give a good view. I’ve put together a little collage so that you can see it open as well as closed and the inside stamping, which is only partly visible on the outside. Probably a little more work than you want for a Christmas card, if you have a lot to make.


Onto something that is easy to mass produce at this time of year. Some basic one layer stamping, using two shades of brown, with a die cut for some dimension. I added the candy cane twine for a hint of colour and the touchability* factor.

I’m loving the versatility of this little house set. Sian has used it to create some Christmas cards in another non traditional colour scheme. Aren’t they great?

If you’d like to know how to make a screen card, in this simpler form, I’ll be adding the tutorial next week. Are you making cards this weekend?

*Apparently this is not a real word.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

What’s On Your Workdesk? Wednesday #285

It’s Wednesday again and there’s nothing (other than a fruit bowl) on the kitchen table this morning. The kits are prepared and everything is stacked, ready for me to pack in the car. Of course, I will be looking in those boxes before I do.


This was the scene just after lunch yesterday. The last few ‘inbetween’ stages being made and a little experiment. I read somewhere, the other day, that with clear stamps it is better/easier to do the die cutting first and then stamp on the shapes. I always tell my class the opposite and generally we use rubber stamps. In the interests of fair play I thought I’d give it a bash. The results weren’t *bad* but for me the end product is cleaner and more accurate, when I do it the other way round.


In the last session we made the card above. I kept it simple, because that style was new to everyone, including me. This week we’ll be a making a ‘stepped up’ version, using those cute little house. Again? I don’t think I’ll have any complaints! I’ll share what we made later in the week. Santa and his sleigh may be involved.

Now, onto to the point of me sharing all this with you this morning. Although I suspect you already know. I’m linking up with Julia and the other deskers, for our weekly hop around the workspaces of the world. See you there.

PS If you’re looking for a gift for the handy man or woman in your life, then Friday’s post might interest you. Shameless advertising I know, but for a good friend, not me. If you appreciate a well crafted tool (no sniggering at the back) then take a look.

Friday 14 November 2014

Friday Finds ~ Elementary

Something a little different this week.

I have lots of finds pinned on my secret Pinterest boards, but they can’t be shown here, this side of Christmas, in case the intended recipients see them. Instead I’m going to share a gift idea that you don’t have to make yourself.


Screwdrivers? Yes, that’s right. Something you expected to see here on my blog? Probably not. However, these are very special screwdrivers, designed by a good friend of mine so I hope you’ll indulge me.

When he was unable to find a modern screwdriver that fitted his needs, as a cabinet maker, he decided to make his own based on traditional designs. He is now making them available to everyone. The perfect gift for the handy man or woman in your life.

Find all the details on The Screwdriver from elemen’tary design here.

Wednesday 12 November 2014

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday? #284

The answer to that question is nothing. Not this week. The kitchen table isn’t required for hooky pursuits, they can be managed in your lap on the sofa. Perfect.

Now that I can crochet….well….I can do this and this….


….I got it into my head that I could make a blanket. In a fit of madness I ordered this….


….to make this Cosy Blanket. Crazy? That’s me!

What have you been up to this week? I’ll be round to see later. All the other deskers taking part can be found hanging out at Julia’s place.

PS There’s still plenty of time to join in with SIPIDI! if you want to. Just leave a comment here or on the other post so I know where to find yours.

Sunday 9 November 2014

One Photo in Twenty Words ~ Poppies

Abi, from Creating Paper Dreams, came up with the clever idea of choosing a photo and telling its story in just twenty words. There was only one choice for today.


On a sunny Sunday in September, I stood in front of the Tower of London feeling overwhelmed. So many lives.

You can read more about Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red here.

Friday 7 November 2014

Friday Finds ~ Seamwork

I’ve talked before about my love of Indie sewing patterns, with their clear diagrams and explicit instructions. Often there are online Sew-A-Longs just after the release of a new pattern and with older ones you can guarantee that there will be a wealth of examples and handy tips from sewing bloggers who’ve already made them.


Colette go the extra mile and the Laurel, with a 40 page (yes, really) instruction book, is more like a sewing lesson than a dressmaking pattern. Every single step is covered and it assumes no prior knowledge. When it says beginner, that’s exactly what it means. There is also an extra 60 page e-book available to download, with nine variations to the basic dress. The booklet includes a sleeveless version, which is what I am making. It has an invisible zip*, which might put some people off, but I have read lots of blogs where the maker was able to get away without putting one in due to the loose shift shape of the dress.The blouse version doesn’t need one.

Onto the Friday Find. Colette are launching an online magazine next month, which will be free for everyone to read. But, if you choose to subscribe you will also get patterns via digital download and other bonus content. The projects will all take less than 3 hours to make. Sounds good to me. You can add yourself to the list for receiving a sneak peek here. I am also subscribed to Snippets, which is a handy hint/sewing tip delivered to your inbox every Tuesday. I’ve learnt all sorts from those.

We have a Saturday free of university tours this week, so I might get some time to work on my Laurel. Here’s hoping. Have a lovely weekend.

*There’s a great tutorial, with a video, on how to install one here.

Wednesday 5 November 2014

What’s On Your Workdesk Wednesday? #283

The slightly blurry contents of my kitchen table, previously in boxes transported to class this morning. Now in the process of being returned whence they came.


I have embraced the Christmas crafting now that Halloween and Bonfire Night are almost past. I just can’t get into the mind set before then. There’s a traditional combination of red, green and kraft, along with a, less so, trio of blue and grey.


A couple of variations on a theme. One with a stamped background and….


….another using a mask and some white ink. Loving the mix and match handwriting and typewriter fonts in this set of stamps.

Are you yet to begin your cards or are you sitting smugly on a stockpile? I’m sure I’ll find the answer to that, on my travels around the desks of the world this evening. It’ll be getting dark here in the next half hour and I need to pop to the post office and see if I can find some laces for a pair of Doc Marten boots. I’ll be round later. We might just need the heating on tonight. Happy Wednesday.