Saturday, 31 May 2014

Lovely Happy Things

I've enjoyed some crafting time this week and this always
makes me happy.

I've been doing a bit of embroidery and crochet and
I have also made this birthday card for a friend--all fun,
happy making projects.


A new magazine and a cup of tea--always a treat!


It was my birthday on Thursday, a very wet and cold day.
But despite the horrible weather it was a wonderful day, full of
beautiful treats and presents. I felt very loved and spoiled.

I'm still not too sure though about being forty. It is such a big,
grown-up age and I don't feel forty, not yet. But I guess that's
a good thing. As they say, you're only as old or as young as you feel.


I've made another new top and I love it.

I'll tell you more on my next post--soon!

Thanks for reading.
Wishing you all a lovely, sunny weekend!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Sewing Lessons

Thank you for the lovely and encouraging comments on my
 summery top. I've been so delighted and excited with how nice it
has turned out that I had to make another one.

This time I've  added a pocket at the front and an inch or so to
the bottom hem.

I made this a couple of weeks ago and have loved wearing it
with a pair of leggings and a cardi.

I like the colours of the fabric and I'm chuffed that I have
another new top to wear this spring and summer. Next time
though I'll make sure I use matching cotton threads to help
 hide the wonky stitches and I'll stick to fabrics with smaller prints
to save me worrying whether the prints on the front and back pieces
are aligned or not. I should also remember to wash my fabrics
beforehand and zigzag stitch along the long edges to keep them
from unravelling later on. The armholes are still a little bit loose
so I've made some changes to the pattern. Hopefully this and all the
other lessons I've recently learned will help when I make the next one.
 I've already got the material and I'm planning to get sewing again
one evening this week.

Thanks for reading. Back soon!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Last Weekend's Projects

This was an old wooden spice rack that I've turned into a wall shelf
for Markie's bedroom (soon to be both girls' bedroom). I found it in a
  junk shop in Castleton and paid £1.50 for it. It was quite dusty and
 sad looking when I brought it home but after a bit of cleaning and
a few coats of paint it's now a cheerful little shelf where the girls can
 keep some of their smaller toys and knick knacks.

It's also for keeping all their accessories neat and tidy.

I've used a couple of curtain hooks for this job and they work perfectly.
I still have to find a way to blunt those sharp tips though.

I've also created this little display area for the girls' drawings and
favourite postcards using a piece of string, wall hooks and some mini
wooden pegs. This turned out to be very useful as both girls love to
draw and we can change their artworks on display as often as we want.

So these two were my little DIY projects last weekend. It was
the first time that I've painted a piece of furniture so it was a bit
of trial and error. There are a few uneven patches here and there but
 luckily they're not too obvious. I also got the bright and cheerful
shade of yellow that I was after so I'm happy. How about you-
did you spend the weekend doing jobs around the house or
were you out and about enjoying the lovely sunshine?
Whatever you were up to I hope you had a wonderful time.

Thank you for stopping by. To those who have recently found
my blog via Marianne's , a big welcome to you. I hope you've enjoyed
 your visit here. Back soon!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Making Cards

I've spent most evenings this week making invitation cards
 for Markie's upcoming birthday party. It was actually my husband
 who suggested that I make them as we're trying to keep costs down.
 I wasn't too keen on the idea initially. I've never made my own
cards before and I have a few WIP's I wanted to get back to and
finish this week. But I changed my mind when I realized I have
 everything needed to make them--blank cards from an unused
 Christmas card making kit, alphabet stamps and washi tapes--
so why not try. And having warmed up to the idea, I thought this was
 my chance to have a go at making washi tape cards like those lovely
ones I've seen online. And so my card making evenings came about.

I started off by sticking strips of different washi tapes to plain
 white paper. I then cut out the shapes I needed before gluing them on
 to the cards. It was easy and I had a lot of fun with the four designs
 I'd chosen.

The idea for the cupcake and ice creams came from some appliqued
bags I made last summer (you can read about it here) while the bunting
and balloons were inspired by a card that Lulu got on her first birthday.
The bunting was also a great way to make use of small pieces of
washi tape-covered paper that were leftover after I've finished
making the other cards. 

I've made a dozen in total and I'm really happy with them. I'm
also glad I tried my hand at something new. As for washi tapes, I'm a
big fan now. I think they're so brilliant. My husband have said the cards
are 'too nice' which is a great compliment. I hope Markie's friends
will like them too and they'll all come to her party. That will make her
really happy.

Thanks for reading. I hope you're all having a lovely weekend!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Lovely Happy Things

My husband often works on Saturdays but last weekend he was free
so we decided to go to York for the day with his parents. While the girls
spent the morning at the train museum with Daddy and GrandDad
my mother-in-law and I enjoyed the sights and shopping round
the Shambles where I bought myself a few little treats.

goodies from the CK shop
my favourite tea from Betty's
We were going to go for a walk along the city walls after lunch
 but a thunderstorm put paid to all our plans for the afternoon so
 we decided to just head home. We were a little bit wet and tired but
very happy and despite the rain we still had the loveliest time.


These are stacking cups that the girls have lined up so nicely
on our sofa.

I saw all these bright colours when I walked into our living room
the other day and it made me smile.


I haven't bought flowers this past month, much to my dismay, because
my husband gets hay fever and it's always worse when we have them in
the house. But I couldn't say no when Markie asked me to buy this
little potted plant at the city farm and it's been on our mantlepiece
for the last couple of weeks. And this week it flowered!

They're so tiny and so pale and delicate. They're no trouble at all.
At the moment they're my most favourite flower in the world.


Sunny days and bright blue skies, even ones with big fluffy
clouds like these, always cheer me up.

And so wonderful to look out to this from our dining room window.
I sometimes complain about living on such a hilly city but I have to
admit we do get nice views like this.


I made flapjacks for the first time last week and since then
I've made them a couple more times. They are so simple to make
and so delicious!

Thank you Gillian for sharing with us your mum's recipe.
I think I've become a bit addicted to these flapjacks but I don't
mind it at all!

Thanks for reading. Back soon!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Craft Room To Be

Last month when we did our spring clean I tidied up and did some
 reorganizing in the tiny space where I keep my sewing machine and all
the rest of my crafty bits and bobs. This little space is in our box room
which is currently Lulu's bedroom. Hopefully I'll be able to turn this
 into a sewing room/craft room when she moves to Markie's
 (bigger) bedroom this summer. I have to say I'm very much looking
forward to this--no more lugging of my sewing machine downstairs
 whenever I want to do some sewing and I can leave the mess and not
 have to tidy it off the dining table everytime. Anyway here it is after
last month's spring clean.

The photo below was taken just before I moved things around to
create a bit more space on the desk. The wooden shelf was a birthday
present and it's perfect for keeping button jars and other sewing
notions. The poster was bought from the London Transport Museum
shop a couple of years ago. I love the colours of the flowers and it
reminds me of a wonderful day we've had at Kew Gardens just before
we got married.

I love this wire wall storage from here. I've had to make do
with some  furniture we've already got and this is the only new
thing I've bought recently for this room. I think it's brilliant.

Next to the desk is a flimpsy old book shelf we've had for years. The
bottom half has DVD's and books while the upper shelves have some of
 my fabric stash plus tins filled with ribbons, rubber stamps and various
other craft things.

My husband thinks it's a bit bonkers that we have baskets
and old picnic hampers all over the house but I find them so useful.
These ones have the rest of my fabrics as well as some vintage 
sheets and linen.

I got this colourful pinny from a vintage shop in Whitby. I've
thought of re-using the material to make a small bunting
but we shall see. At the moment it's cheering up this little
 corner by the door and I rather like it there.

This chair was in my husband's bedroom when he was growing up.
His parents gave it us when we bought our house and I used it as
a nursing chair when the girls were babies. Nowadays it's used for
reading bedtime stories although I also like to sit here sometimes
when I want to look at magazines and have a bit of peace and quiet.

So far I think I'm nearly there with creating a nice little crafting place
for myself in this tiny room. It's more organized and definitely
looking much happier and more inspiring than before and I'm looking
forward to spending time here this summer. What I'd really like
 now is a good desk lamp next to the sewing machine, although a
radio would be quite nice too. I've added them both to my birthday
 wish list so fingers crossed...

Thanks for stopping by. Have a lovely week!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Lovely Happy Things

I loved wearing my summery top last weekend. Actually I was quite
 proud to wear something I've sewn myself and I'm so excited to
be making another one.

I've already cut my fabric pieces and chosen the trimming.
All I need now is one evening this week when I can happily stitch
away in my sewing machine. I can't wait!


Markie and I made chocolate chip muffins last Saturday.
We used all the chocolate eggs leftover from Easter plus a
chocolate Santa we found at the bottom of the sweeties jar.

It was an easy bake (it's a Mary Berry recipe) and tastes yummy too.
It was also lovely to spend time together baking which we both enjoy.


Warm(ish) sunshine, a new magazine, cup of tea, and the girls playing
nicely together.

A wonderful way to spend half an hour on a weekend morning.


I love this Timbergram postcard I bought from here.

I think wooden postcards is a terrific idea, a delightful alternative to
paper postcards and stationery. But this one looks so cheerful and
 lovely on our mantlepiece I don't think I'll be using it for
correspondence anytime soon.


We went into town last Monday and made a VERY extravagant
purchase. Oh yes, we had to sit down and think about it first. We're
not normally given to splurges like this.

But it's a well deserved treat for my husband. He works hard,
hardly buys himself anything and he loves cooking. So this will be
well used and he will truly enjoy having it in our kitchen. It's very
expensive but worth it too.

Thanks for reading!
 Hope you enjoyed the bank holiday weekend.
Have a wonderful rest of the week!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

A Simple Summery Top

This week I wanted to do something new and decided
to try my hand at dressmaking. I've always admired those
who can sew their own clothes but I've never felt brave enough
to try eventhough I like to sew and know a bit about using a
sewing machine. The only piece of garment I've ever made was
a Clothkits dress for Markie a couple of years ago. I managed
to finish it by watching the video tutorial online, replaying every
step til I got to the end.

So what made me want to try and make myself something
I can wear? Well, the whole idea started on Tuesday when I wore
one of my favourite tops. I kept thinking how nice it would be if I
can make one or two of it to wear this summer. I'll have some new tops
that will look nice with jeans, cropped trousers or leggings, plus I can
save some money too. So that evening I laid it on the table to have
 a good look at it. It's from Mango and bought in the sale last year.
There are no sleeves, buttons, darts or linings. After some scrutiny
I (bravely) decided it was doable.

I started off by sketching the top on to pattern paper,
making the back slightly wider, before cutting my fabric pieces.
I chose a material that's easy to work with--cotton, with small floral
prints-- something I picked up from The Great British Sewing Bee.
It was also bought in the sale (you can probably tell by now I like
to buy things in the sale) and I thought just in case it all went
pear shaped at least I won't be too disappointed with the wasted
material. Anyway after this it was on to the sewing bit. It was 
surprisingly easy and by the next day I had a  finished top.
Here it is:

The bias binding was quite fiddly but not as hard as I'd
 expected. I got the idea to use it on the neckline and
armholes from here.

And it fits nicely-hooray!

I really like it and I'm so chuffed with how it turned out.
I could see myself wearing this a lot in the coming months.

I've already chosen the fabric for the next one and I might add
a little pocket too.  Looking forward to making it soon!

Thanks for reading. Hope you like my summery top too.

Have a great weekend!