Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - My Favourite Things

My Favourite Makes of 2010

2010 has been good to me, with lots more ups than downs!

In the real world, we, like most other people, have battled with reduced income and general stress brought on by recession woes, but we are extremely lucky to both have good jobs. We've continued to find our way (slowly at times!) through the maze of parenthood, but that has brought joys far in excess of its undoubted challenges. We have had two new additions to our extended family, my gorgeous niece and nephew. We have seen lots of our family and friends, although we'd always like to see more of them. Overall, its pretty positive, looking back :-)

On a personal note, 2010 has been really great for me. I started this blog back in August and set up a Facebook page for it soon afterwards and I have been overwhelmed at the response I've gotten. Its really lovely to read people's comments and to get emails from them about things I've made. I've really enjoyed sharing my crafting and participating in the online blogging and crafting communities - there are so many extraordinarily talented people out there, I am in awe of some of them!

I am slowly but surely discovering a new creative confidence in myself and defining my own style in terms of design and colour. I think the thing I am most thrilled about is that so much of what I have made this year was from my own head - the blankets, the handbags, the taggie comforters. I am also pretty amused that I cannot, just cannot seem to follow a pattern exactly any more. I now tweak and adjust and generally make a pattern suit what I want it to do, which is something I would not have had the confidence to do 18 months ago. Not that I think I can improve on all these patterns, mind, its more that now the patterns are a starting point rather than an end point for me.

So to round out the year nicely, I want to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who reads this blog, to my wonderful husband & kids who never complain when I pull out the sewing machine, to all my friends who have supported me and given me advice, and most especially to my fab friend Helen who has been there giving me advice and great ideas since before the start of it all, and who we can't wait to see in January - lets just hope its not a hat-trick of visits cancelled due to snow! Thanks hon xx

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Festive cheer & my Christmas gifts revealed!

I just love the few days between Christmas and New Year. The Christmas mania is over and there's lots of down time, with opportunities to meet friends, laze around the house in PJs and spend some fun time with the kids. We just got back from my mum's today after a lovely few days with my parents, my sister and her husband and my brothers and sister in law. Also, maybe most importantly, my niece and nephew who are 8 and 9 months old. It was really great seeing my kids with their baby cousins - they got such a kick from making them laugh and playing with them. We still have lots of people to see in the coming days so I'm glad I have another whole week before I am back to work, not least because of the piles of laundry and the general tidy up that is needed in the house at this stage. At least our water came back this afternoon!


Yesterday morning, I met one of my oldest friends and her two girls for our annual Christmas meet up. This year, I made the girls' Christmas presents - bunting for both their rooms, and a cute drawstring bag for Fiona who is my goddaughter.


I'm hoping she will get lots of use out of it for her PE classes, or swimming lessons or similar. The "right side" of the bag is made from 3 main fabrics, and an edging strip at the top for the drawstring which is made from a soft pink cord.


I used a pink ribbon with a heart pattern to make the loops for the cord at the bottom.

I made the bunting for Niamh similar to Fiona's but with some differences. I used the pinking shears to give them a decorative edge and used a slightly different, but complimentary, fabric selection.

Finally, I brought some crochet with me to do in the evenings when watching some films in my mum's and she loved the yarn, so I gave her the finished scarf for her birthday next week.  I bought the yarn last year in Kenmare and can no longer find the ball band, but it is a ribbon texture and is in a beautiful colourway. After trying a couple of different patterns which didn't do it justice, I decided to do a simple, fine, treble crochet scarf to show it off in its beauty.

I did a simple, loose picot edging to finish it off. I love the sea colours in this scarf - teals, moss greens, pinks, pale blues. It will look lovely on my Mum.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Felt Phone Cozy

I've been doing a lot of crafty blog reading lately and over the last week or so decided to treat myself to a few pattern downloads! I picked out some beautiful quilt patterns to work on in the New Year (my main resolution!) - Alice from Red Pepper Quilts and Skittles and Charm Bracelets from Kate Conklin Designs. I have a lovely charm pack I bought at the Knitting and Stitching show in October that I'm thinking of using for the Charm Bracelets. Then, as I was on a role, I went and downloaded this pattern for phone cosies from I've been reading Larissa's blog for a long time and love her crafty style. I saw these cosies when she first posted them and thought they were gorgeous. So tonight I was in need of something completely different and had one sewn up in no time. They are a lovely, easy make and I just love working with felt, it's such a great, tactile fabric.

The pattern is sized both for an iPhone and a smaller version for a smaller phone. It fits my iPhone perfectly and I can attach to my bag using the ribbon loop. I made this with a lovely purple wool mix felt and appliquéd on the poppies in blues and pinks and think the colours work well together. The felt is top stitched with wonky lines and I love the effect.

 I also put on a pocket at the back for my headphones - no more rummaging around in the bottom of my bag.

I put a small snap fastener on the tab closure and I added a little ribbon trim on the inside of the cozy for some extra interest!

I will definitely be making some of the other versions of this phone cozy, using up my large felt stash and it will make a perfect addition to some of my Christmas gifts this year.