Tuesday, 2 July 2013


I read blogs via the Blogger Dashboard, so I thought the end of Google Reader doesn't affect me.  Today it dawned on me that people who follow via Google Reader won't be following me unless I sort it out so I am claiming my blog on Bloglovin.  

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/5430001/?claim=zwt3qemvcw9">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>


I have had a wonderful time taking part in this swap.  It's the second swap I've been involved with and I found it following Julia's  blog, http://liashandmades.blogspot.de/.  I was lucky enough to be partnered with Julia and this is what she sent to me.

Add caption
Even the box was pretty.  Julia is from Germany and it seems that there they even have pretty stamps. 
 Here you can see the gorgeous bag Julia made.  It's all applique with beautiful stippled quilting in between.  She also sent me a lovely little hand cut pack of charms, some metallic thread, a big bag of beautiful buttons and the most amazing pincushion which reminds me of a tortoise with pins and beads for eyes.
This is the back.  It's quilted with diagonal squares decreasing in size. 
And here is the pincushion.  Everything was carefully wrapped up in this lovely piece of fabric instead of paper too.


Here is what I sent to my partner ...

I was about to run out the door to post it all off when I remembered I hadn't photo'd it and today is not so bright so I though I'd do it outside.  BUT as I was sending it off to a STRANGER I didn't think they'd appreciate it being on the grass in the garden so I ran back in a grabbed a towel.

Anyhow, this is the back. 
 And this is the front, with a big pocket and magnetic snap.  I made this from Noodlehead's Super Tote pattern which can be bought here http://www.noodle-head.com/2013/05/super-tote-pattern.html .  It's the fist bag I've ever finished (not the first I've ever cut out though!!!)  I started one in different fabric but it just didn't seem to fit the brief she'd given.  The lady doesn't blog so I couldn't stalk her taste but she said, "I am trying to adopt more colors into my life and would love something colorful! I love modern designs and small prints. Elephants, feathers, birds, and nature-y prints are likes of mine."

So, I hope it fits the bill!

 This is the inside with an elasticated pocket and recessed zip.

This purse is another first for me.  It's made from matching fabrics and actually was surprisingly easy, although I probably should not have said that.
And this is the inside of the purse and the other things I sent.  Two fat quarters, some matching thread, some ribbon and some Eton Mess chocolate (I have been guarding this with my life from the marauding hoards for a fortnight).

So, it's all gone across the Pond.  I hope you like it partner.

It's been really good entering this swap.  I have really learnt a lot and my sewing confidence has been given a massive boost.

Monday, 13 May 2013

The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum

A new club has opened in Chelmsford.  It's called Asylum and is run by some of my oldest friends.  It's in the arches under the viaduct and has two bars, one upstairs, one down and is a good spot to play and watch live music.  There is rock, punk and metal downstairs. while upstairs there's acoustic, rock,karaoke and dj s

Here I am on their opening night with my favourite people holding my trusty coke cos, as ususal, I'm the driver.  Yes, that's right I got out of the house, with no children in tow, this year.  Don't faint.

I have to say they did open a few weeks ago but I forgot to blog about it.  I did have a good night though.

Friday, 26 April 2013

I Wanna Make It With You

So, I'm in the supermarket with Kurtis and there on the shelf is Paul Hollywood 's Bread book.  I have been watching this series avidly and I had to have it.  It had five pounds off, no really, it did.

It mirrors the series, each episode being a chapter.  With each recipe for a bread there is the actual bread recipe with lots of photographs and then a recipe to use or accompany each bread.  For instance there is Stilton and Bacon Roll, followed by Celery Soup (only my favourite, could have bought the book for these two on its own!!)

My first make will be the Curried Naan with Sultana and the Chickpea Curry.  No children will thank me for this, but I don't care, just sometimes we get to eat my first choice of ingredient.  

Kurtis, having just read this post, has just informed me that as he is no longer a child he will indeed eat this without complaint and with enjoyment, so there is light at the end of the culinary tunnel.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Oops I Forgot To Photo

Last weekend my youngest came home from school to tell me they were having a onesie film night tonight.  They have a film night every Thursday.  Could I find one in his size, could I hell.  He is too big for boys and too small for men's and JJB XLB (aka 14) did not have any onesies.  I have been in every shop in two towns.  

So, in desperation I went to The Cheap Shop in Tiptree, home of all things lovely, and bought a pattern, some elastic, some eyelet type press stud snap thingys and the softest fleece they had in the shop.  Which luckily for me was brown camouflage and not pink stars.  It had to be soft.  Really soft, because he won't wear anything that is not soft (it's one of his issues and to be fair it's not a biggie), and for me to get it under the mum-made radar.  They did not have any ribbing for cuffs but I improvised with elastic and casings, put bias binding around the neck seams so he wont feel them and made it look a more like it came from a shop.

It came out really well, I was really pleased with it.  It took about four hours to make and the worst bit was getting the eyelet press stud thingys in with the hammer. They were an absolute nightmare, I got through all 12 of them to put on 6 snaps and I don't know that I wont be putting on buttons on the weekend, but for school I thought they looked cooler. And as I said before, I don't think it ended up looking like his mum made it.  Which, when you are 12 is the worst thing in the world. Apparently.

I jumped in the car rushed off the 30 miles to his school, dropped it off, drove away and realised I had not photo'd it.  Oh Bugger.

I'll find out tomorrow if he wore it.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

I've Changed My Picture

The lovely view of Brookend Locks is from where I used to live, where I've walked with children and families for 25 years.  In my previous life.  In the town where I lived from age two, grew up, had children and lived my chaotic life until I was 46.

Friends, Children and Bella, doin the lock walk

That was then.  This is now.  Now I live 25 miles away and am finding new places to walk with my family and their dogs, and my friends and their dogs, and some of my children.  Now they are older, they can choose whether to scrape their sorry butts out of the door and are sometimes too lazy or computer addicted to come too.  Also, a little aspie thing, they don't know this place and these walks so don't want to do it.  I have to find another good walk for them to become familiar with and until I find it and drag them round it a few times the boys aren't keen.  Not for two of my boys is the exploration of the unknown, they need the familiar.  

Ruby's a good walk tester though.  She has wanderlust, like her dad.  Likes to look round a corner to see what's there.

View across the fields to our house

So what I need is new picture of where we live now.  A sort of this is where I'm at kind of a picture.  No, not a huddled jumper over clothes under dressing gown freezing in the corner of the sofa kind of picture.  No  beauty or inspiration there.  What is needed is a trawl through the computer files.

Jarrod hiding at the top of the sea wall on a day at the beach

The first thing is - gosh it takes so long for a technically inept person like me just to attach and arrange photos just how I want them.  The second is I am not and will never be a talented photographer.  The bit that goes from wow I want to keep that view/sight forever to oh that's a lovely photo just don't match up.  It gets lost in translation.  I'm a happy snapper.  I look at my family and think I ought to snap just to give them a reminder of a day or occasion.  A visual memory jogger.  

For years we didn't have a camera (couldn't afford one and couldn't have afforded development if we had).  The first camera we owned we bought (third hand) when I was pregnant with Kurtis.  It was great, it took two pictures for every one.  You had to send the negatives off to be developed though, which wasn't a problem in that slo mo world but the problem lay in finding a chemist that would do it.  Then when I was pregnant with Ruby the kids dad bought me a camera of my own.  Gosh I was so chuffed.  My sister and I took the kids on holiday to Worcester and I dopped it lens out, face down on a concrete path in a park.  That was the end of that.  Then I had a couple of camera phones.  Then I didn't.  Then last year, in order to start this blog, for my birthday, the kids dad's mum bought me a camera for my birthday.  It is my prized possession.  So prized, I rarely take it out and rarely use it. Duh.

I do have one picture that I took that I like though - this one of Kurtis on the beach at Brightlingsea.

So, at the top is the picture I have chosen.  I didn't take it.  Ruby did.  On her phone.  Doesn't need a posh camera, makes up for it with a good eye.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Other Peoples Blogs - Post Inspiration

Hello sweeties.

Over the past couple of days I have read two posts, one from John at Going Gently and one from Gertie Pye at Quiltingforengland and they have both inspired me to write a little anecdote from 1988.  

When he was 18 the kids dad had a motorbike accident and had a hind quarter amputation.  He was my toy boy I was 21.  At the time we had been living at his mums to save a deposit for a house.  In the autumn of that year we were given a council flat.  I worked in London at the time and used to leave at 7 in the morning and get home about 7.30 ish in the evening.  His mum used to come round in the day to check he was alright, make him some lunch, wash up, tidy round, do a bit of washing or hoovering.  She was checking on her lovely son she had just nearly lost and helping out his young, stressed, stretched girlfriend who was trying to be all things to all people.  I used to pitch up in the evening all knackered and bad tempered to find the old busybody (old ha she was younger than I am now) had been in my house interferring in my life, telling the world I couldn't cope and was crap at everything.  Now the truth is I couldn't cope and the more anyone tried to help me the more defensive and angry I got.  I would whisk myself into a frenzy and shout and bang and go to bed and get up the next morning and do it all again.

Fast forward a year, kids dad needed operations that needed post op care so I gave up work to do this.  We couldn't afford a TV or a Licence or the electricity to run it so we didn't have one but we did have a radio and I listend all day and half the night.  Like his mum I became an Archers addict.  Ruth was a young farmer and Gill her mother in law used to go to her house to help.  They had a big row over it.  MIL came round when I was listening and said "oh, I'll get a bottle of wine and catch you up".  We sat there long into the night while she caught me up on all the characters and then we had a conversation about the Ruth/Gill situation.  UH-huh you know where I'm going.  Suffice to say, in the words of Johnny Cash "I walked away with a different point of view".

That evening is one of the salient points in my life, when I learnt that no matter how stressed a person is, it is always useful to look at something from someone else's point of view.  I am stubborn and often it takes me while to concede that I am not the most always right person on the planet.  But hopefully, I don't hurt as many people as I used to.

And over the years, those extra bags of shopping, bit of hoovering, washing up etc have been helpful and not just  to me but also to another mother whose children were growing and leaving and who needed to still be needed.  And when my eldest goes to university in September that will be me.