Friday, 24 October 2014

This Moment

Here's a link to Soulemama's moment, and I'm cheating again, words and multiple photos!

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . .  
I was determined to get one last wild swim in for the year. Especially since September's balmy weather transformed, literally overnight, into a cold, wet, windy October and it really didn't feel like we'd got to say a proper goodbye to swimming. So we headed up to the beach at the weekend for (probably!) our final swim of the year. To be honest, cold, wet and windy was still a reasonable description of the weather, but since we weren't expecting it to improve, it felt like now or never.
Maria wasn't tempted to come along, partly because of the weather, and partly because of some very cute, new arrivals in our household...
There are actually 3 babies, 2 brown ones are cuddled up together!
She wouldn't be torn away from them and was very happy, cuddling each in turn on the sofa!

Anyway, the hard core beach enthusiasts got to the beach, and it was beautiful. Late afternoon sunshine one side of the horizon, and dramatic, stormy grey skyline the other. The beach was almost deserted except for a couple of dog walkers, wrapped up in hats and scarves, and looking at us as if we were completely bonkers.
The boys wasted no time in getting in the water, which was actually very sensible given the biting wind that was blowing! 

Venetia, however, had to be coaxed from the car, was seriously regretting not bringing a wooly hat herself, and muttered words to the effect of 'there's no way I'm going for a swim, it's freezing, you're all crazy!'. She gave me a very dirty look at the suggestion she might want to put on her wet suit. Big mistake, of course! After a few minutes of watching us swim, her coat and shoes came off and she dipped a toe in. A few minutes later, the leggings got rolled up and she started jumping waves.

It really wasn't long before she was pretty damp, and then it was in for a penny, in for a pound!

But happily, the water wasn't actually that cold, and she had a great time too! Although the heating was on high in the car all the way home! We haven't altogether given up hope of another dip, but if it doesn't happen then this was a perfect goodbye to the waves for 2014. 

Have a great weekend,


Thursday, 23 October 2014

Hexies misbehaving

I've been having a frustrating time with my hexies today. I have 7 'flowers' hand sewn, and my plan was to turn them into a small baby blanket. But after spending an inordinate amount of time arranging and rearranging them off and on today, I just can't come up with any positioning that I like.

You'll have to excuse the complete lack of ironing in these pictures!

I just don't think I've got the right balance of colours, particularly centre colours to make it work.

I tried with just 6 of them...

And with a new one in the middle...

And in completely different patterns...

But nothing was working for me today. So I abandoned it for the day, I think I may try a completely different idea tomorrow. And I switched to Maria's Kite picture instead for today.

It's all sewn, and I have a plan for the border/binding. The consensus of opinion seemed to be to go for something different to Venetia's picture. And, thinking about it, I'm sure that's right. Finishing their pictures in the same way would almost feel like dressing them in the same outfits, and that's something we've always decided to avoid. Besides which, Maria's picture is a very different shape and size, and I think calls for a different idea.

So, since it's Maria, I went with the obvious plan of rainbows!

A start made on it, but needs a couple of corner pieces to get it to fit. At least it all feels like it's going to work, unlike those hexies.


Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Christmas Stitching

I don't seem to be getting a whole lot of time for sewing right now, so in those few moments I do snatch I've been working on a couple of small, easy to stop/start makes. Happily, they are also Christmas makes.

First up is some very boring sewing - fabric bags for wrapping. We have quite a lot I've made over the past couple of years, but I'm hoping to make enough this year so we have no paper wrapping to do. They're very easy to make. Any kind of 'bag' shape - mixtures of large, small, long, thin, short, fat - with a good length of ribbon sewn on. I'm using lots of repurposed fabric which is in itself creating a variety of shapes - sleeves or trouser legs, for instance, lend themselves perfectly to fairly narrow bags. Here's an example of how I sew on the ribbon... 

Just in one continuous length on one side of the opening. It can then wrap around the opening, closing it up, then go around the present again in the opposite way before tying.

At the moment I'm sticking to quite Christmassy colours and they're looking lovely all together.

But it is, as I said, very boring sewing! So my other make is a little more interesting. I'm planning on making a set of 'Christmas' napkins as a present for someone. I say 'Christmas' napkins, but I wanted something that could be used for a little longer than just Christmas. I decided on 'snowflakes' as a theme for them. I have a big soft spot for snowflakes! I thought I'd machine embroider a snowflake, each one different of course, in the corner of each napkin.

I drew a design on first and then just stitched over it in a variegated, grey thread.

You can't really see that it's 'variegated' in the photos, it's very subtle.

But I need some help with them. We are extremely uncouth here and do not use napkins, and so I'm not sure how 'thick' I should make them. The fabric is from a very old and very lovely white, cotton sheet. It's a really good weight cotton, the kind that got starched and was all crisp and beautiful. So, for those of you who aren't as uncouth as we are, is that sort of 'weight' good enough for elegant napkins? Could I just double hem around the edges and leave it as a single layer? Or should I perhaps be adding a 'back', right sides together with a little opening, and then turning it out and sewing closed? All advice gratefully received!

I'm linking up with 'Ho, Ho, Ho and On We Sew' again today, can't believe it's a whole month since I last linked up!


Friday, 17 October 2014

This Moment

Here's a link to Soulemama's moment, and here's mine...

{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Lets Go Fly A Kite Mini Quilt

I finished up the mini quilt from Venetia's drawing. Here it is freshly drawn by Venetia...

It was quite straightforward to machine embroider it...

I added a piece of wool backing and drew in some quilting lines to follow - they're supposed to be clouds!

And here they are sewn...

And then I decided to finish it with a blue, patchwork border-come-binding, with just one yellow, sunshine square up in the corner. I had been planning to quilt the patchwork, but now it's done I think I want to leave it plain.

Maria has also now done her drawing, which will again be quite quick to embroider, but I can't decide whether to go down the same route with the quilting and the blue patchwork, or whether to try something completely different instead. What do you think?


Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Take 5, Maria style

In theory, Maria would have started full time school last year. In practice we felt that, at only just over 4, she wasn't ready for it and we kept her out of full time education. She still went to her pre-school for a couple of sessions a week, and it worked beautifully for her. In fact, it worked so beautifully that, come this year, we questioned why we would change anything. I should say, we're very happy with our local school, Venetia is settled there and enjoys it. But Maria has flourished over the last year from not being in school. Having said that, she enjoyed her sessions at pre-school and the interaction with the other children there. Fortunately, the school is very flexible and open to working with parents, so after lots of deliberating we decided this year that Maria would do half and half - half the week at school and half at home.

I think it's a bit too early to be sure that it's going to work. There have been times when I've felt that maybe she's not getting the best of either world, but also times when I've felt we are doing the right thing. And if we get to a point when we decide it isn't working, then we can always change it either way.

So basically, in our half of the week at home Maria and I have been getting up to lots of fun things. My plan is not to be sitting down trying to 'teach' her in this time, I don't feel she needs that at the moment still. We're trying to spend time outside, see friends who also aren't at school, make time for Maria's own independent play and, of course, encourage lots of creativity.

So there have been trips to parks...

A very relaxing swing!

Walks to enjoy our beautiful surroundings...

And all the seasonal nature around us...

As well as time spent in the garden

I cleared out quite a few ancient pots of spices - some of mine and some I inherited from my parents and Maria has loved making potions and soups with them.

And quiet time inside.

This is a 'Spot the differences' game that Maria decided to make for me.
Children are such incredible, little explorers and Maria constantly amazes me. But, I've now gone on for ages already explaining what we're doing, and the point of this post was actually just that I seem to have a collection of activities from our time together that might be perfect for a 'Take 5' Maria style. So...

1) Cooking is a favourite activity - lunches, tea preparations, flapjacks, cookies... but the clear winner, in Maria's eyes over these last few weeks might have to be chocolate hedgehog cakes with prickles made from flakes!

I spotted this cake on Pinterest originally to inspire these.

2) Fabric painting is still extremely popular. After seeing this Apple Bunting, we decided to make our own version:

We used halved apples for printing on to the fabric, then Maria drew on the stalks and leaves. I sewed them up into squares and we just used little craft pegs to hang them from garden twine.

The sight of these new potatoes set us off with some potato printing too.

 They looked perfect for fish to us.


I'm hoping I might turn this into a mini quilt, as a present for Maria to give to Theo, of all people. He half hankers after keeping fish as pets, so I'm thinking if I add a black border or maybe just thick black binding and some quilting detail, this might look a little like a fish tank up on his wall?! Maria likes the idea anyway! And she's considering what else she might paint as presents for other family members.

3) After enjoying a giant spiders' web between trees at our nearby RHS gardens, we decided to create our own in the woods next to us. We just took some bright green garden string and wound it around a couple of likely trees for a quick and easy version.

Maria kindly took a picture of me attempting to climb through too!

4) We've been planting lots of bulbs.

Some for us, for instance in our new lawn seed spreader, plant trough!

But lots in pots as Christmas presents for family and friends too.

A pot of hyacinths always fills a room with such a gorgeous scent, I think they make lovely presents. We've got some going for us in a glass pot with glass beads and water too, so Maria will be able to see the roots growing.

5) I bought a few cheap bags of large wooden beads in a charity shop recently. And we've been enjoying drawing funny faces on them and turning them into little dangly people.

With a 'belly button' as well, of course!
I've also seen a lovely idea for drawing and painting faces of family on to wooden beads - here - we might both of us try this.

In fact, half a week really isn't enough!