Sunday, April 30, 2006

Spelling toy

Hey, I found a new Flickr toy on Magpie Skinnies blog. Check this out....

ALone letter i

Try it for yourself - it's really addictive and don't forget to leave me a link - I'd love to see them.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Christmas tags in April?

I was quite productive with my day today. I got a bit of a head start on my gift tag swap and made some snowman tags, mainly just to get in the mood. I'm not sure I'll actually send these off, but at least I've got something in the bag.

I spent ages playing with a new paper cutter gizmo, trying to get nice crisp edges, only to decide that I preferred the way they look when ripped. I like simple.

Looks like I'm not the only one feeling festive at the wrong time of year either.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Trouble finding me?

Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2006 16:00:49 -0400
Subject: domestic ali


I have spent ages trying to locate your blog. All I can find is domestic violence or xxx porn! Is there something you are not telling me?!

Can you email me a link and I will try again.



Oh, I laughed till I cried.

Gift Tag Swap

This swapping business has me in its evil hold. I've just signed up to do a gift tag swap at Head full of pixies. What possessed me? Don't get me wrong - I love the whole idea of swaps and I'm totally dedicated to making stuff that would make me smile to receive. But the CRIPPLING performance anxiety. I look at the blogs of my swapmates and cringe at their competence and creativity. How will I ever make things to please them? I'm a FRAUD you hear, a crafting charlatan - no art school, no graphic design on my CV, no mother who sewed every childhood garment.

I had this dream that my blog was swap blacklisted (in a handmade ledger, of course, beautifully embellished). That when my e-mail came, swap organizers would cackle. PARANOIA.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Digger purse

Eldest son has had a serious case of the I wants recently. I decided it is about time he learned the value of money. Since we're in the wrong era for shoving him up the nearest chimney to earn his daily bread, I thought he could at least budget his spending money. Well, he could if we gave him any.

So, we've entered the pocket money era - £1 each Saturday (plus bonuses from the tooth fairy). Is that stingy? I asked what he was planning to spend it on. He said bread. Swift chat about not having to be totally self sufficient on his income. Now he wants to buy Lego.

The problem (well, apart from only being able to add numbers under 10) is keeping his loot away from the thieving fingers of his little brother. That kid is better than a metal detector at finding cash. A purse of some kind seemed in order.

The digger motif was a special request from the prospective owner. Don't look too closely at it - it contains my first ever zip (put in without a zipper foot as my machine doesn't have one). The customer seemed pretty happy anyway - think he's looking for extra loot in there!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Big bad bunny

Okay, by popular request (well one request!) here he is - mean, moody, malevolent - it's big bad bunny.

He's going to enter whiplash this week under the theme "your surly side". I should explain, I didn't plan for him to be so evil. I was doing my first softie - a wee wonderful bunny - as a practice for my Back Tack 3 swap. He was meant to have an oriental vibe, as that's what the black and white checks suggested to me.

I had serious PMT - the 'rip your head off' kind and it really impairs my judgement. I can't tell you the number of wardrobe disasters I've purchased under the influence of my hormones. So, I was stitching bunny's face, thinking he didn't look too happy, but it would be OK. As I stuffed him he got meaner and meaner and by the time I had taken his picture he was just plain nasty.

He does have his uses though - he's in my kids' playroom and "Big bad bunny is watching you" is evolving into quite a handy phrase for stopping misbehaviour in its tracks.


Friday, April 21, 2006

So, Back Tack 3 matchups are out

I'm making a softie for Larissa. We've e-mailed and now I'm becoming a cyberstalker trying to work out exactly what to put together for her. Like I said before - I'm a swap virgin and I DO NOT want to get it wrong.

I've has a trial run of a wee wonderful bunny, but it is quite scary. I wanted him to be thoughtful, but he came out mean looking instead. I must have been feeling hormonal when I did his face. The boys have named him big bad bunny after the character in this book.

Larissa, don't worry - he will not be coming to glower at your gorgeous little boy. I need him here - "Play nicely - big bad bunny is watching you".

Handwriting meme

Handwriting pangram from capello - finally got round to downloading my picture - SLACKER.

Put yours on
flickr - you know you want to.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Crayon calamity

Chocolate overindulgence and small children is a recipe for disaster in my book. I tried to be a responsible Easter basket filler this year and thought we would put in some other bits and bobs. The kids helped make Hama bead chickens and eggs and we also tried our hands at rainbow crayons (a la

We were pretty pleased with our efforts, but I've had some negative feedback. My friend Kathy: "What were those weird waxy things?". She'd tried to eat them. What could I say? Well, they were non-toxic.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Micro-mini quilt

Quilts - love the way they look, hate the fact that they are so huge! I have NEVER done a full size bed one - I did start one soon after I got married, but our 12th anniversary has just passed and the blocks are in a box waiting to be recycled into something I might finish.

My eldest so got one for his playmat, but the youngest had to re-use it because I never even started on one of his own! Now I only make teeny ones. This is my smallest to date - I only really made it so I could try and learn some applique.

I'm thinking of going even smaller and doing some coaster sized quilts. I saw some a while ago that released a nice scent when you put a hot drink on them. Cool idea, but I don't know what you would put in it to get the effect. Hmmm......

The labels cometh

A little present to myself arrived in the post today. Last week I ordered some labels for my handmade items.

The idea is to provide me with a bit of encouragement as I want to have a stall at my local craft fair in October, but I've been fretting about it. Is my stuff good enough to sell? Will I ever make enough stock? Will people buy? What should I sell? If I worried about it a bit more, I'd never do it. I ordered the labels so now I HAVE to have a go, if only to justify the cost of them.

I was so excited when they arrived, I had to make something to check how they looked, so one quick lavender sachet later and....

Monday, April 17, 2006

Mark enters whip-lash

I saw 'Everyday Creativity' was the theme of this week's whip-lash, but I knew I didn't have time for much crafting this weekend with it being Easter and holidays for the kids so I didn't plan to enter.

Today was a perfect spring morning and we went on a walk past the station. I put the camera in the pram as an afterthought. Eldest son, who is 5, asked for the first time, to take a picture, so my husband (with his infinite supply of patience) showed him what to do.

When we got home and put the shots on the computer he was really impressed. "I think these would win a competition Mummy" he said proudly. And that was the moment I remembered.

To me, everyday creativity is about taking what is around you and seeing the beauty in it. What better way to empower a child to do this than teach him how to use a camera. So here, by way of our first joint whip-lash entry, I give you Mark's photos.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Cookie cutter craziness

I was reading about cookie cutter collections on Hop Skip Jump today and it inspired me to photograph mine.

I am shocked that I have so many. I'm not really a 'collections' sort of person, but I suppose this does qualify as one!

I wish I had a better way of storing them too, because seeing them today made me smile and I'd like to enjoy them more often. I don't, because they are just hurled in a couple of old tupperware boxes in my baking cupboard. Nifty ideas gratefully received.

Thanks for the bookmark

Look what the postman delivered this morning!

A cute bookmark from Karen of Little Pink Toes. Red gingham is one of my favourite fabrics - it's just so cheery. Thank you Karen.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

BTIII I'm in!

BTIII Button
Originally uploaded by

I am so excited - I waited up until midnight to sign up for this swap.

The agony was made worse because I had miscalculated the time difference and had my mouse poised at 11pm only to realize my mistake and have to wait for a whole hour longer. Waiting is not one of my strongest points.

The challenge is to make a softie in black, white or blackandwhite. I had a look through my fabric stash and have started incubating some ideas, but I'm going to wait and see who my partner is before I do too much planning.

I am a swap virgin and I'm stupidly nervous about making some kind of unintentional faux pas.
Any swapiquette tips gratefully received!

Ho ho ho - I just LOVE making surprises!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Carrot cupcakes

Feeling a bit blue today. The weather is terrible and the boys and I are suffering from cabin fever. Cupcakes are often the solution. I think I need another to decide if they are really working.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Easter bags

The Easter bags and fabric mache eggs are finished.

The eggs are based on this tutorial from Zhinka dinka doo.

I did some with ordinary flour and water paste and some with PVA adhesive. Both worked fine, but the flour paste kind took longer to dry. An added bonus of the PVA sort was that the finish was slightly shiny (as if I had varnished it). I was surprised at how sturdy the baskets were as the fabric was only one layer thick in places. These would make great party bags and I've already started to think about making a pumpkin version for halloween.

The others are little cloth totes - based on a pattern I saw on craftster.

The boys and I are going to help the easter bunny with deliveries this week.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Seaside jaunt

We've been away for a few days to visit my folks who live by the sea. The boys love visiting the harbour, digging, throwing stones and checking out the live lobsters.

I also had the chance to do a bit of shopping. Whitstable is an arty community, so there is always some inspiration for craftyness to be found.

I saw some great bags made with felted wool. I'd like to have a go at felting my own, but the thought of killing my washing machine in the process is a bit offputting. With the amount of sand we encountered over the weekend I NEED my machine in full working order.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Monkey Party

I have my youngest son's 2nd birthday to thank for discovering craft related blogging.

I wanted to throw a monkey party for him as at the time one of our favourite games went like this...

Me: Are you a monkey?
Him: OO OO OO (accompanied by armpit scratching).

I was trawling the internet for some ideas when I came across this. At the time I didn't know how to post a comment, so I didn't. But I did make the cupcakes and the t-shirt and the invitations and the banana themed food.

And then I realised there are other nuts like me out there and they talk to each other. So now I'm blogging too and I can't tell you what a buzz it is. Fab though being a mummy is, it doesn't offer that much in the way of intellectual stimulation. I'm sure getting my head around html and digital photos is doing my neurones no end of good. And the party was a blast too.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Fingerpuppet bunny

I put together a family of these fingerbunnies today for my Easter gift bags inspired by La Belle.

My sewing is not fab - check out that wonky blanket stitch. I'm not even sure I am doing it right. All the tutorials I've seen show the work the opposite way to the way I sew. You can blame my repressively academic school which didn't teach anything remotely useful in the way of home economics, domestic science, woodwork... shall I rant?

Well they are bunnies from the heart and given that none of the recipients is over 5 I shouldn't think they will be too critical. If anyone complains I'll eat their chocolate stash.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Thinking of Easter

Last year I set up an egg treasure hunt.

We'd just got a digital camera, so I took photos of quirky spots in the house and made a personalised trail for each kid to follow. They loved it!

The Easter Bunny needs to work hard on a good idea for this year now....

Saturday, April 01, 2006

This is the four of us.

We are looking quite presentable for a change. Reality usually involves a great deal more mud.

My children are dirt-magnets, and I have to confess, I'm not a lot better.
I've been wondering about blogging and procrastinating for weeks now and suddenly... what the hell. Why not? Have I got time to do it - certainly no. Will anyone care - probably not. But it's something for ME.