Friday, 31 December 2010

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year to all crafters and here's to a prosperous 2011.  Hope it is a brilliant year for everybody xxx

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Did you get what you wanted?

We had a lovely Christmas - very quiet but with all the family.  A few of us are loaded with cold but hot vimto and honey works wonder.

Got some really lovely Elemis Beauty Products so expect to look fantastic in the New Year.  Making plans for the year ahead with son hopefully going to Uni and daughter doing her GCSE's.  I love organising so starting with myself and then the family. 

My New Year's resolution is to try and get a little fitter and spend a bit more time on my scrapbooking and crafting so that I catch up on all the layouts and albums etc etc.

So here's to 2011 and hope you all have a great New Year. 

Monday, 20 December 2010

Run up to Christmas

I finished my niece's christmas present last night - the Tilda poncho and a matching hat for her.  I am really pleased with the results but don't want to post a pic yet as I don't want them to see it - will put them on after she has opened them.

I have got two bags to make for some Tilda decorations for godparent presents from their godchildren. 

I have got the brussel sprouts done and in the freezer along with the sausages wrapped in bacon - went for some different flavours this year - pork and cranberry, pork, brandy, apricot and date, pork and chestnut - should taste good.

Has my haircut this morning along with darling daughter.  I put a list on my pc as I am feeling a little overwhelmed by everything that has got to be done.

I hope everyone is managing in the bad weather conditions.  I managed to get all the basics so if we get snowed in I don't have to worry.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Busy Busy Busy

Just a quickie post - have been really busy with three sick children last week and then the snow hitting everywhere.  The children just got back to school on Friday and now they are off again as we got a another four inches on top of the snow we already had making for horrendous driving and walking.  Got my advent presents ready and gave them to my mum and ad at the weekend so now I can concentrate on my other handmade pressies. 

Monday, 29 November 2010

Creamy leek and potato soup

Ingredients:-

1 lb peeled, thinly sliced potatoes - cooked and then drained
2 large leeks
2 small onions
1 1/2 pints vegetable stock
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper
100 ml double cream
2 tbsp olive oil
Stilton/Dolcelatte/creamy blue cheese (optional)

Method:-

Chop the onions roughly and gently fry in the olive oil until transparent - don't let them brown.  Chop the leeks and add to the onions, simmer for about 10 minutes or until the leeks are tender.  Add coriander, salt and pepper.  Add the vegetable stock, stir and then add in the sliced/cooked potatoes.  Simmer for around 30 minutes.  Blend the soup until there are no lumps left and then add the cream.  Once you have added the cream don't let the mixture boil.  Serve in hot soup bowls with crusty bread and chunks of Stilton or a blue cheese of your choice.  Beautiful on a cold night and doesn't take long to make either.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Surprises in the post

I subscribed to a couple of magazines last week and the company sent me a couple of freebies - Australian Homespun 10th Birthday Celebration Issue and Smocking & Embroidery Issue No 76.  Both of these are fabulous magazines, there is loads of ideas and inspiration in them and they are also great to just browse through with a cuppa.  Many thanks Alison for your wonderful customer service.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Craft Room

I am very lucky to have my own craft space with everything I need in one place - but boy - does it need some tidying and clearing.  I could do with my own caretaker (couldn't we all!!! LOL) just to move stuff about for me but hubby kindly took the day off and did the lifting and carrying.  So - below are the piccies for before the sort out and once I have finished I will post piccies of the room again.  It is starting to look alot tidier already. 

This is my space in the living room (much to dh's disgust as he thinks I have enough room already but like to sit with him when I am doing some bits and pieces (awwww!!!)

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Butternut Squash & Courgette Soup

This is a recipe that I have made loads of time and always get asked the recipe so thought I would share it on here.

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash
3 courgettes
2 knorr vegetable stock cubes mixed with 1 1/2 pints from the stock off the squash
1/2 teaspoon dried coriander - you can use fresh if you have it
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch garam masala
Pinch cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
Double cream

Method:

Cut the squash into about 12 large pieces, remove seeds and then boil (with skin on) until nice and tender.  Peel the courgettes and chop into slices.  Fry the courgettes in a little olive oil until coated and put the lid on the pan so they soften faster.  Add all the spices/herbs, salt and pepper, give a good stir.  Once the squash is tender, pour the whole thing through a colander keeping the juices from boiling the squash for the vegetable stock cubes.  Remove all the flesh from the squash and mix in with the courgette.  Add stock cubes to the boiled water and then add to the squash and courgette mix.  Simmer for around an hour.  Blend the soup mix and add cream to your taste.  Check seasoning and add more salt and pepper if required.

This is delicious served with homemade bread - particularly sun dried tomato/parmesan or a nice crusty wholemeal loaf.

Enjoy - great for a winter's evening or for Christmas Eve as a light meal. 

Christmas Decorations

I am trying to make a few handmade Christmas presents this year and decided that the Tilda tree decorations were a good place to start.  I am tweeking them a bit to suit me but they have been easy to do - thinking of making a matching bag to put all of them in as I thought it would look quite nice.

They just need the hand stitching to do on the seams and then another three designs making a total of six decorations in each bag.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Magazine Subscriptions

I have finally found a company that lets you subscribe to the Australian Crafting Magazines without having all the heavy postage fees.  The company is Manor House Magazine Subscriptions.  They do all of the Australian Magazines like Inspirations, Smocking & Embroidery, Quilting, Scrapbooking, Yarn and loads more.  It was really easy to set up the subscriptions that I wanted - I went for Australian Homespun which is a monthly magazine and then a quarterly subscription to Inspirations and Australian Smocking & Embroidery.  I used to get all these magazines from a local supplier but a few years back they had problems with the supplier and they had to be cancelled and the cost for shipping your own subscription was atronomical.  I dealt with a lady called Alison who gave me all the details of the mags and also got the option of a free magazine because of taking a monthly subscription - I chose Issue 76 of Smocking & Embroidery because it has a lovely Italian smocked handbag pattern.  I thought I would share this magazine company with you as I am sure I won't be the only one looking for Australian magazines. The website is www.manorhousemagazines.co.uk  Enjoy browsing :) 

Dresden Plate Preparation

Good Morning all - it's freezing here today - there is a layer of frost on everything.  I have got to venture out to Keswick this afternoon so hoping the sun will be out and not the snow.

My Christmas table runner is coming along.  The patchwork panels are done - I have now prepared the Dresden plate for the middle and the ends.  I hope it looks this neat when it is sewn together.


This is a twelve piece plate using a 30 degree angle and 1/4" seam allowance so it will be smaller once sewn together. 

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


I used back stitch, chain stitch and french knots for the simple embroidery.  The slippers are lined with the same fabric as the pyjamas.  The hair is made with Tilda wool - it looked hard to do but was actually very easy - I used alot of pins and then just kept wrapping the wool from one side to the other.  The rouge is a blusher built up to the required colour and the lips and eyes are acrylic paint.  The angel wings are made with the same fabric as the doll - sewing machine quilted - the fabric was lined with batting and interfacing.

Meet Darcie - Dressing Gown Angel

Meet Darcie - my first attempt at a Tilda Dressing Gown Angel.  She was quite easy to make - I bought a Dorma Percale flat sheet in the sale for £10.00 (kingsize) - I think there will be enough to do 60 angels!!!  It worked out alot better vale than buying a metre.  I used a small straight stitch on my sewing machine so when it is being turned and stuffed it certainly stood up to a bit of pushing and pulling.  The dressing gown is made from pink felt along with the slippers and part of a fat quarter for the pyjama bottoms.  I am planning on making some more of these as it was an easy pattern and definitely recommend it.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Quilting Club

Off to quilting club this morning - hoping to make a start on my Dresden plate for the Christmas table runner. Loaded with cold along with two others in family.  Looks like the sun is shining today - but need to wrap up nice and warm.  Have a good day all.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Nickel & Brass

It's mine and hubby's 21st Wedding Anniversary today - whooooh.  He took a half day and we have had lunch out and then a nice relaxing afternoon.  Didn't want to spend alot so I got the new Australian Homespun magazine - Christmas issue
There is loads of stuff in this issue that I love.  Some favourites include Lynette Andersen which I have managed to source locally - the Scandanavian Christmas Block of the Month - so I have added that to my Christmas list.

Having a day off doing any sewing - lots of other things going on at the moment and it is absolutely freezing here - fire and radiators on along with a jumper!!  Brandy is curled up in front of the fire and won't move.

Anyway - short post for today - will have to get my camera battery charged so that I can show you my first Tilda Dressing Gown Doll.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010


Two of my purchases yesterday - these Art to Heart books are fabulous - loads of inspiration, good detailed instructions and clear pictures.  The projects range from easy to hard.  There are fabrics to match the projects or you can do like I did and pick your own - more pictures later.

WOW - What can I say - The Fat Quarters

I was at Newcastle for an RVI appointment yesterday - all went well - we did a little Christmas shopping, of course we visited Ikea and ended up having lunch there because it looked so yummy.  Swedish meatballs in white gravy - delish. 

BUT - the best part of the day - except for my darling husband's company and help all day - love him to pieces - was getting to a shop called The Fat Quarters.  I have ordered from them in the past but this was my first visit.

We got there at 3.35 pm with a sign on the door saying that it closes at 4.00 pm - oh gutted I had 25 minutes to look - NOOOO.  I walked in and was greeted by two lovely girls and mentioned that I had come from Whitehaven for an appointment and would try to be as quick as possible - looking around the shop - this was going to be no mean feat - crikey - 25 minutes - not a chance.  The two ladies - asking what I would like to drink and putting the kettle told me - don't worry about the time - doesn't matter - what a relief.

By 4.45 pm I had made my last purchases - just don't ask - but I did do my Christmas shopping in there and got some great projects for next year.  The shop is just fabulous - over 8,000 fabrics in one place - Tilda to die for - BOM with a great choice - that many that I couldn't make my mind up there and then.  All kinds of magazines, notions, books, finished works of art to just gaze at - I need to take my sleeping bag next time - I am sure they wouldn't mind and I am also sure I wasn't the first to ask!!!! lol

By far the highlight of the shop was the enthusiasm, knowledge and great customer service by the two ladies for my whole time spent there - I just didn't want to leave.  It is a long time since I have met owners of a shop that could tell you everything that was in the shop, about its history - flooded a couple of years ago but you would never tell and so helpful to a beginner quilter like me.  I know all about classes that they do - retreats, workshops, day classes, projects but will end with this note - well worth a visit from Whitehaven or anywhere else just to go to the shop - drop your family off at the Metro Centre or send them walking in the hills of Durham - but definitely visit them and give yourself plenty of time - I am working on my Dad now to take me back next week after my next RVI appointment.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

The rabbit is made from Tone Finnanger's book 'Springtime Gifts'.  The heart is a template that my daughter drew for me.  The wrap is my own idea for putting toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, comb, nail clippers in and it wraps around to keep it all together.  The towel is also my own template but very easy to do - one bath towel - cut a square out of the towel and leave enough to cut another square for the hood.  Diagonally cut the square piece and cut a piece of fabric to match.  Stitch right sides together - turn and then place on one corner of the towel.  Attach Bias Binding all the way round the towel making sure you stitch through all layers.  You could also use a bath sheet to give you a bigger size but this towel will be big enough for up to two years old.

This is my latest handmade creation.  A basket lined and then goodies made to match.
This is for a friends baby shower.
It used 1 metre of patterned fabric, a bath towel, couple of buttons, ribbon and stuffing. 
I hope it will go down well.