Monday, 22 November 2010

Monday Musings

I thought I'd start a new regular feature on my blog - I've been reading Happy Zombies blog and I really like the 'daily cup of joy' posts - so I thought I could do something similar.  Now, I'm not sure I have enough joy for a daily cup, but a weekly one I can definitely manage.

So I thought I'd list a few things that made me smile last week.

  • The coat hanger hanging from a bush in a field on my way to work.  It's so out of place, it makes me smile everytime I see it.
  • Random gifts from friends - I've been given several packs of gel stickers to decorate my house for Christmas
  • New Christmas decorations (I always like to get a few extra each year - this year we'll need a new tree to house them all!)

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Swap - Scavenger Hunt

My first ever swap was a scavenger hunt (you get a list of words and have to find something that fits each one) and I really enjoyed it so I was really pleased to see another hunt swap.  I received my package about a week before I'd even started thinking about mine (I'm a post partner assignment swapper as I like to really make it personalised, whereas some people have everything ready to send before partners are allocated).  

The seven categories this time round were: Red, Key, Flower, Fairytale, Animal, Something Sweet, and Profile Surprise.  

Above is my swap package - my partner included a small red notebook, a key necklace, a lovely pincushion covered in flowers, a card embellishment "WISH" as all fairytales start with one, some owl stickers (my favourite animal at the moment), some orange sweets (my favourite flavour!) and some measuring cups, which I somehow missed out of the picture, to help me cook the recipes in the edible New Orleans magazine she also included.  Totally fab package to receive - I'm probably going to hoard the owl stickers instead of using them because I love them so much.  

Here's a close up of the superb pin cushion - really good handiwork.

It took me a while to get my swap together - I had lots of ideas for some of the categories, but totally drew a blank for others.  Here is what I sent my partner.

Red - Cupcake toppers (I got carried away with my previous swap!)

Key - A MonKEY KEYring (see what I did there?)

Flower - I didn't take a picture of this, but I found some flower fairy colouring in sheets (difficult ones, not childrens ones) and as my partner likes flower fairies (and painting), I thought this would fit nicely. 

Fairytale - This was my experimental item - I found some fabric pens in town and decided to buy some hankies and add little fairytale pictures onto them.  I'm not great at drawing so Ian helped out with this one a bit, it was good fun to do and I think they turned out pretty good.  

Animal - my swap partner had owls and penguins listed in her favourite animals on her profile, and these card embellishments just jumped out at me.  

Something sweet - I added in some skittles as I was worried any chocolate would melt.

Profile surprise - I think I really caused myself problems with this one, because I made everything else fit with her profile so I was out of ideas.  I settled on some postcards from Birmingham (where I was staying when I sent out the swap) and included my rail tickets that I used to get to Birmingham as she likes things from the UK, so I hoped they'd be something she'd never gotten before.  

I'm pretty pleased with how my swap turned out - hopefully she will be too!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Swap - Cupcake Toppers

Before this swap I'd never heard of a cupcake topper.  The swap included a link to some instructions and it looked simple so I thought I'd sign up.  

I was not expecting to enjoy making these so much - I could have made so many more (unfortunately I was going away for the weekend and didn't want to miss the deadline). 

I sent my partner a quick note to see if she had any parties coming up so that I could fit in with any themes she had in mind, and she mentioned that it was her son's first birthday next February.  I didn't want to send her something she couldn't use for six months, so I set about making these cute elephant ones.  They were very simple as the elephants were pre-cut and sticky, so I just added the stick and then used foam pens to make them all slightly different.  I found on the internet that it's Elephant Appreciation Day on September 22nd so I suggested she threw a themed party to celebrate!

I then set about making the ones for her sons birthday - I cut the circles out by hand as I didn't have a circle punch (something I definitely think I should invest in as it would give a much better finish).

And because I didn't want to stop making them, I also made some purple butterfly ones.  

The swap called for flat ones, but my elephant toppers were made out of foam, so I was worried about sending them in an envelope.  I found some polystyrene upstairs (from some flat pack furniture we recently bought) and had a brainwave!

So my well packed toppers are now on their way to Canada and I can't wait to receive mine!

Thursday, 26 August 2010


On a lot of blogs that I read, people make more of an effort to decorate the house for the smaller holidays. I think this is quite normal in America and most of the blogs I read are written by people over there so I guess it makes sense. But I like it. I don't want to just have Christmas decorations, I want to have Easter ones too, and so this year I did. 

It probably started last year with the giant eastery mug that I bought (matches our Christmas mug too), but that's all I had back then. I regretted filling it with chocolate eggs, 1) because it's pretty big so I had to buy lots, and 2) because I ate them all, by myself, in a big chocolate binge! So this year I bought some polystyrene eggs with a plan to paint them all prettily. Stupidly, I bought these at the end of Easter, so didn't finish it. Story of my life really!  At the moment all the eggs are one solid colour, but I'm planning on adding detail before I use them next year. 

The decorations I did have this year were squidgy gel type things that stick to glass, so the random window between my dining room and library turned into my Easter display. The best thing about these is that they came from the pound shop, so it was nice and cheap.  Please ignore the mess in the background (and the terrible quality - I took this on my phone).

I also put my two lindt bunnies on my mantel along with the nesting owls I got for my birthday and my purple flowers Ian got me at christmas.  You'll notice that I forgot to take the photo until after I'd eaten the right ones ears! Oops!

Over the easter weekend I also found these cute chickens at a local craft show, so have added them to my easter decorations for this year.  

I think halloween is the next one for decorating (unless I celebrate Elephant Appreciation Day!)

Monday, 23 August 2010

Let me win this one too!

I'm not greedy or anything.  I just think this is an awesome giveaway - look at all those stamps! I spent time this weekend searching my hobbycraft for some good stamps and they hardly had any, so I could really give all of these a good home.  Fingers crossed for me!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Let me win!!

I love the blog world - the generosity of people, with all their giveaways.  This one is definitely worth winning (well, I think they all are) so I'd recommend popping along here to enter too (but only if you promise not to win so I can!!)

I think I should start thinking about hosting a giveaway too - but I'd have to finish something first!!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Stash Additions

If you follow my other blog, you might have seen the cupcake bouquet I made recently for my friend.  To make this, I had to get a few supplies from hobbycraft.  As soon as I enter the store I lose all control, but I'd told myself that I was here specifically for supplies for that project, and no extras (I decided July was "essential spends only" month).  Unfortunately, I saw a whole load of shiny sticky paper rolls for just 20p each, and whilst I had no particular project in mind, I knew it would come in handy at some point.  

For the cupcake bouquet I needed lolly sticks, but instead of getting the small packet, I got 1000 lolly sticks.  It made sense really, as they were practically the same price and you can do tonnes of things with lolly sticks right? As it turned out, I didn't even use any of the lolly sticks, so now I need to think up a good project for them.  But yay for more stash!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Hamper Goodness

I went to a friend (PG) from works wedding back in May.  I wrote about the wonderful food he had here.  Now I'm going to write about the wonderful gift we made him.  We spend a lot of time with PG at work and he sometimes tells us too much about himself.  So far we know that he has a love of hampers (which we think is a bit girly) and he knows more about sewing than he should.  He also is very good at ranting, and we love listening to the things that annoy him (sometimes I think they'd annoy everyone, other times it's just something really funny that only he can find annoying!).

With all of this knowledge we'd been gathering over the last three years, my friend and I decided to make him a hamper.  He supports Pompey FC, and they were playing in the FA Cup Final on his wedding day (they lost) so we managed to get a magnet with the date on.  He's a big James Bond fan, so we stuck some top trumps in too.  He's also a bit of a Eurovision geek, so we added some Eurovision DVD's and badges that we got from ebay.  When they changed the logo of sprite recently, he'd complain every time he saw it (which was quite often as that's all Ian drinks and we have breakfast together every day), so we got a couple of cans of that to add.  At breakfast, PG also has a habit of destroying the stirrer he gets with his tea, so I got a small picture frame, and put one in, with 'In case of emergency break glass' written on it.  He's also very interested in bridges, so we bought a book with lots of bridge pictures in (bridge porn I guess!) but it turns out he already had that one. 

One of the biggest rants PG has ever had was about this other wedding he'd attended where the bride had a brown sash on her wedding dress.  He could not understand it, he complained how horrible it was (I've since seen the photos and I agree, it's really not a good look).  At this same wedding, the napkins that were supplied for the wedding breakfast were paper.  PG seemed outraged that someone would have paper napkins at a wedding.  I agree that it's not very classy, but I don't think I'd be as offended by them if I was in a similar situation.  So, to remind him of these two things, we managed to find some paper napkins with brown stripes! (We didn't want to just put nice things in this hamper after all!).

Now, generally, at a wedding, there is more than one person getting married so we had to put some things in that weren't for PG.  PG's now wife (DL) is also crafty so I chose the most fashionable sewing magazine I could find in WHSmith.  The eurovision gifts were also suitable for DL as she's just as geeky and she also supports pompey.  

As well as all the funny things, we put in several packets of biscuits, some dark chocolate heart lollipops from Hotel Chocolat, some bubbly and glasses.  I spent the day before their wedding making some small hearts out of felt, two of which were embroidered with their initials. 

The hamper all came together nicely, it had a red gingham lining, the hearts were red and white, we'd managed to get some cellophane with red hearts on it, and we had red ribbon round it.  It looked beautiful, and it got a big smile from PG when we arrived at the wedding. 

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Less Painful Memories

I've been reading a lot of other peoples blogs recently as part of the swapbot blog swaps that I've been doing.  I came across Mimi's blog, The Happy Honeybee and I read about her love of Christmas ornaments, and how a whole box got broken in a house move.  It reminded me of my latest Christmas and the sadness I felt when something similar happened to me.  I've not shared it before, because I was truly devastated, but there's a slightly more happy ending to my story now.  

I'd been making myself a collection of pottery snowmen - painted by me at the local pottery painting shop.  I put them in pride of place, on my mantel - they looked so lovely.  Every year, instead of a card, Ian draws me a nice christmassy scene - this years one seemed to make the perfect backdrop for my snowmen so I placed it behind them on the mantel.  

We had all my family over for christmas this year, and we cooked the bird on our barbecue outside to free up space in the oven for all the trimmings.  As Ian opened the door to outside, a gust of wind caught the backdrop picture, and it fell forward.  All the snowmen were pushed onto the fireplace, smashing into many pieces.  It was a real snowman massacre.  

What made it worse, was that I knew there weren't anymore of the big snowmen left at the pottery shop - their supplier had stopped selling them.  I couldn't replace them and I was heartbroken.  My first christmas in my new home was effectively ruined, but I had a good cry and got on with it as best I could.  Ian tried to superglue as much as he could back together - but there were so many missing shards and it just wasn't the same.  What made it worse was that it was my own stupidity that caused it - it was the hardest lesson to learn. 

Anyway, I did promise you all a happy ending so here it is.  I searched the internet high and low and found a supplier of the pottery snowmen.  I now have 11 unpainted ones sat in my library and 1 that we painted earlier this year to check that it would fire correctly in the kiln at the pottery shop.  So although I killed lots of snowmen that Christmas, I can get back my collection and be more careful with them in future. Oh, and the cute little rudolph on the end of the first picture survived (he fell on the carpet) so I guess that's happy too!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Work In Progress - Octopus

This is a picture of one of the octopuses I started making last year - I've got two on the go, one pink, one purple.  I was making them to give to my nieces for Christmas, but didn't finish them on time. I really should finish these off as they're so close to being done, all they need doing is their eyes, adding sequins and beads to their legs and then sewing all the legs on.  Hopefully this will shame me into doing it and I can give them as this years Christmas presents!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Weekend of Fun (But no crafting)

Just thought I'd check in and let you know why I've been gone for over a week.  My mum, sister and two lovely nieces came to stay this weekend, so I was preoccupied with tidying my house and then having fun.  We spent the day on the Isle of Wight in the glorious sunshine (I got a little burnt) and I got to make some sandcastles so I thought I'd share them as they're the closest to crafting I've gotten recently!

We also went to see our first 3D movie - Toy Story 3.  I really enjoyed the film, but didn't think the 3D really added much (although it was worth it just to see my niece reaching out trying to grab things from the screen).  If you've not been to see it, I highly recommend it.  

Talking of tidying my house, I've just discovered the following website which tries to create new cleaning habits one step at a time, so we'll see whether that makes a difference.  

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Recent SwapBot Swap

My latest swap on SwapBot was called "I'm a Blogger, Follow Me" and as part of that, I've read 10 really interesting blogs.

For great illustrations and thrifty finds, go here.

For a great owl ball puzzle tutorial go here and check out her other great posts too.

Carly has the right approach to blogging - outlined in her post here - I think I can learn a lot from her.

I'll mention this blog here too - but it fits much better on my food blog so I'll add it on over there too!

For great card designs, go here.

If you can read dutch, or appreciate pretty pictures, go here - not all posts in dutch.

For art, poetry, and some great tutorials, go here.

If you're in need of a vacation and want to be made jealous, go here.

For postcards of places around the world, go here.

For craft, and some life lessons, go here.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Gaining readers

It's nice to have a record of all the things I've created, but it's even nicer having people to chat to about works in progress, or future ideas, or just getting feedback on what I've created.  I've been worrying recently about how to get more people reading my blog, and I spotted the perfect opportunity on SwapBot - a swap of blog URLs and a promise to read the other persons blog.  Not only does this get some people looking at my blog, but I get to take a look at all the interesting things on their blogs. 

So, if you've wandered along here as a result of this swap, I welcome you, and thank you for taking the time to visit me.  And if you're not here because of that, I still welcome you - every visitor means a lot to me, please leave a message and say hi!

Friday, 16 July 2010


Recently stuffie making hasn't been top of my to do list but I do have some pictures to share from a swap I did a little while back. For Christmas I received a sewing calendar, which outlines a crafty task to do every 3 days or so. In this, I spotted a cute owl egg cozy and decided to adapt the pattern to make a stuffie. The swap requirements were to make two stuffies, one big and one little, similar to my panda swap previously. Here are my finished owls, I really struggled giving them away so I definitely need to make my own ones at some point. Notice the sparkly felt round the eyes, which I found in hobbycraft - I think it adds a little twinkle to the eyes!

In return, I received my best package to date, it was wrapped using cute Sellotape and contained several small bits along with a set of purple penguins which I absolutely love. The stitching is so neat,.  The sender was worried about them looking more like parrots, but she really captured the penguin look.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Blogging More

I'd really like to get into blogging more often, but sometimes I fall behind and then just don't come back because I know I have a back log. So, I'm here, promising to put together one big post of all the things I've done that are crafty since the last time I posted to get it all out of the way and feel better. That way, I can post little and often from then on and I hope to finish some of my many works in progress. And now that I've promised that, I'll be more likely to do it!

Monday, 28 June 2010


It's swap time again, this time I've decided to try out Molly Chicken's panda.  I read in the profile of my swap partner that she liked pandas, so hopefully she'll be happy with my attempt at making one.  The tutorial was nice and easy to follow, and I finished the panda in one afternoon.  I really need to work on my stitching so that it's more uniform and neater. 

Apologetic Kitten

I didn't forget that it was my Aunts birthday, I knew it was coming... but then I totally lost track of what day it was, and completely missed it.  Bum.  So, to make up for it, I made up a birthday parcel for her.  I included a card, some marzipan bars, an apologetic letter, a gift card, and then something homemade.  My Aunt is a fan of cats (although she doesn't have any these days), so I decided to try my hand at a stuffed cat. I began making something far too big, and considering I was hoping to post this parcel off pretty quickly so as not to get into too much more trouble, I decided to scale it back a bit and started again.  The result is about three inches high, and the lessons learned were to think more about how it will stand up from the start (as the poor thing just topples over).  I think the package made up for the lateness, so all is good for another year. 

Monday, 5 April 2010


A couple of weekends ago, I attended a hen party.  I really like quirky and unusual hen parties (and I'm struggling to decide what to do for my own even though it's about a year away still!) and this was definitely different.  The bride to be is quite crafty, she's making her own wedding dress and all the invites were handmade, so this was right up her street.  We spent the afternoon making fascinators at a studio in Clapham.  The very friendly and incredibly talented Janie Lawson talked us through the process and was on hand to offer inspiration and help throughout the day.  For something as small as a fascinator, there is a lot of hard work involved, and the most tiring part is really thinking about what to add to it, without going overboard and ending up with an overloaded head. 

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Stuffie Swap Part Two

Introducing my new stuffie Bradley! Named by my colleagues at work and made for me by my lovely swap partner.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Stuffie Swap

I signed up for a stuffie swap as I hadn't managed to finish the ones I was making for Christmas and I figured by joining a swap I'd be forcing myself to actually complete a project!

The rules were that each participant would list 3 animals they'd like to receive and the swap partner would pick one they think they can make. My partner listed snail as one of their choices and it sounded like and interesting choice.

The first decision to be made was which colours to use. I wanted something un-snail-like because I was pretty sure I couldn't make a realistic looking snail so why try. I also wanted it to be bright and cheerful. I had some nice sparkly pink felt but I noticed my swap partner didn't like pink. So, I went for yellow and green, nice and bright!

I figured I'd give the snail a swirly shape by doing some embroidery on some circles and adding them to some panels to create a shell. I was pretty pleased with the neatness of my stitching. I created the body and then attempted to stitch together. As I'd partly stuffed the body and completely stuffed the shell it made it quite hard to attach. I think if I was to do this again I'd try to create the whole thing as one so there was only one piece to stuff.

Thursday, 7 January 2010


So... I was sick most of Christmas.  I failed to make more than one homemade Christmas gift (just the marzipan fruits again). I've not blogged about most of my swaps.  Generally, I'm rubbish!

But, new year, new beginnings and all that crap! So I've given myself a rule - I mustn't start something new until I've finished my last project - instead, I've got myself a little notebook to keep track of the projects I want to do, so that I don't forget about them.

I'm also not going to commit to any swaps unless I absolutely know I have the time for it - I don't want to panic last minute that I'm going to miss the deadline, or that my swap isn't very good. 

Over the next few weeks I'll try and get my blog up to date with some of the things I've made or received and start posting more often about things I've seen that I think are exciting.

For now, Happy New Year!