Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Catching up

My cousin and her partner had a little boy the day before our wedding and she and baby still came!  His first social engagement at 1 day old.  It was lovely of her to come but she had the best reason not to.  I sewed him these shoes:

The pattern is from Anna Maria Horners book - Handmade Beginnings: 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby.  They are my 1st attempt at sewing shoes and in comparison to quilting they are fiddily to make.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Something special

Before our wedding I went to my quilt group knowing we would be eating cake and have a couple of drinks to celebrate my impending marriage, and I was really looking forward to it. 

They gave me this

and sprinkled confetti all over me and my machine.

Each member of the group pieced a square, isn't it wonderful.  I was surprised, shocked, lost for words and loved their generosity.  I found out they had been having secret conversations and always without me knowing.

On my last day of work in came into the office to find this (taken with my phone)


Here's a close up

I'm still finding confetti and chocolates in my shoes, drawers, documents and who knows where else I'll find it. 

I love how much thought and creativity went into each of surprises, they will always be two of my favourite presents.

Thank you,

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Something borrowed

Our wedding photographer, Jeff Ascough has posted some of his favourite photographs of our wedding on his blog, < click on the link to see them.  We love the photos he has chosen to share.

As ever, I needed an image for this post and I have 'borrowed' a beautiful photograph of my niece in her bridesmaid dress.  This photograph was taken by my new sister-in-law, thanks Mel.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Something transformed

Once upon a time a visitor from the south of the land brought a box of sweets to bring Christmas cheer.
The hospitable hosts were very grateful for the sweets and viewed the box with interest and untold possibilities.  After Christmas it was placed on the top shelf of a very, very tall cupboard and forgotten about.

Time moved on.

One day she cleared the cupboard and with great delight pulled out the box.  They viewed it curiously and suddenly an idea popped into her head, "Do you think it's possible?" she asked.

"Yes, I think it is", replied he.

A flurry of painting ensued.
He traded some beans with a wizard who taught him to spin crowns and letters from gold and magically placed them onto the box.

They looked down with joy and no-longer saw a plain sweet box, it had been transformed into a post box, and it shall go to the party.

The End.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Something to do with a hen and a stag

Sorry about the title, I had to keep the 'Something ...' wedding post theme going somehow. 

Our hen and stag parties were full of activities.

I went to my very first ice skating lesson.  I have skated before but have never been on a lesson - something I wanted to do for years.   We learnt to skate backwards, in a circle, do small jumps and to skate on one foot.  It was brilliant, I recommend you try it.

On the train to the ice rink Helen passed me a package and said "Before you open this do you promise to do whatever is in it?" After some deliberation and making her promise it was not dares or a tacky veil with L plates or other 'things' on it (you can guess what), I said yes.

I had to wear a bright yellow tutu, bright pink fingerless gloves and bright yellow ankle warmers.  

Then they made me wear this outfit on the tram back to Manchester and as I walked through Manchester city centre, always walking a few steps behind me.  Strangely, hardly anyone batted an eye-lid, ha har.

We met the others at The Modern restaurant above the Urbis museum for a fantastic meal (I recommend the golden syrup pudding with vanilla custard) and more dressing up items.

In the evening we watched 'Charlies Aunt' at the Royal Exchange Theatre.  The play has been running since 1892, making it one of the most successful farces.

For the boys stag party his brother took him for a helicopter flying lesson as a surprise.  In the evening they met the others to watch comedian Al Pitcher and for a night in Liverpool.

We both had great days.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Lancashire living

A few weeks ago we went on a lovely summer walk near our home in Lancashire, past fields of cows,

by canals with ornate boats

and by embankments framed by reeds.

If you want to see more photographs of the north west of England then visit JellyBeanAngels blog, the lady should be paid by the English tourist board. Her photographs remind me the little part of the world I live in ain't half bad.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Something sewn

Last week was very productive.

I had my first wedding dress fitting and with my shoes I look very very tall, ordered my veil and my replacement engagement ring, we met with the registrar and had our last meeting with our reception venue co-ordinator.

The never ending rain made me finally finish sewing 3 new sashes for my flower girls dresses. Their dresses are white and even though the white sashes were pretty, they were lost against the dress, so I made green sashes to link the colour between the adults bridesmaid dresses and the childrens.

My oldest niece Holly will carry our wedding rings on a cushion inspired by the ring cushions on the Martha Stewart Weddings website.

And because I thought the backed looked plain in comparison to the front I added some ribbon and my late grandmother's brooch.

For both the sashes and the ring cushion I used a green lining fabric, although the lining fabric is fine for the sashes I thought it would fray easily under pressure and show every lump and bump of the cushion stuffing.  So I added an extra row of stitches close to the edges and lined the lining fabric with a light weight white cotton fabric.

There's still a couple of items I want to make... maybe if there's enough time.

Coming soon, our hen and stag parties.


Monday, 26 July 2010

Twice baked cheesy potatoes recipe

When you are having a party it's great to have some hot food the guests love, it can be made in advance and reheated.  They're so good your guests will want more.

The instructions below make 4 cheesy baked potatoes.

2 baking potatoes - we normally bake 1 potato per person
150g grated cheddar cheese
Butter or margarine

  1. Wash the baking potatoes and stab them with a sharp knife 8 times.
  2. Place in the centre of a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees Celsius, cook for an hour turning once, when the centers are soft they are ready. 
  3. Cut the potatoes in half and using a large spoon scoop out the centre into a pan (be careful, they are HOT), place the skins back on a baking tray.
  4. Add into the pan of potato a knob of butter or margarine and a splash of milk.  Using a potato masher, mash until creamy.  
    1. Add into the pan 4/6ths of the cheese and fold in well.
    2. Using a spoon, scoop the cheesy mash potato back into the skins.
    3. Sprinkle the top of the potatoes with the remaining cheese.
    4. When cool, cover and keep in the fridge until needed.  I have kept the potatoes for up to 2 days before re-heating.
    5. Heat the potatoes at 200 degrees Celsius for 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden and the centre is hot.
      Eat and enjoy.

      Monday, 5 July 2010

      Something new

      Our wedding is only a month and a half away - eeek.

      The boy and I decided to make a few handmade items for the wedding, I still have to make the sashes for the flower girls dresses, but I have been making the ladies favours on and off for the last few months.  

      We have designed, made and posted the invitations, the boy even managed to source some FSC sustainable card, and I think they are great.  

      A wedding magazine said if a bride normally wears her hair down like I do then she should wear it down on her wedding day.  Well, I am ignoring that little piece of advice, I want to look different, polished and elegant like Reese Witherspoon, Kate Beckinsale and Angelina Jolie.  My hairdresser tried out 2 different styles, sorry, no pictures until after the wedding.

      These are my shoes for the big day, aren't they pretty!  I visited them for a good year before purchasing them, you see, I normally wear flat shoes, like, everywhere... and they add a good three inches to my height, so I really need to a. learn to walk in them, and b. break them in.  
      I do have a plan b for the evening - bare feet, perfect for dancing.

      Sorry I can't share photos of everything I have made yet, many of my guests read this blog and I want a few things to be a surprise.


      Sunday, 27 June 2010

      Applique baby bodysuit (onesie) & free patterns

      My cousin and his wife had their first child in May, a beautiful little girl.  
      Every sewer knows each baby should receive a gift, one made with love and thought in each stitch.  For Freya's gift I embellished some shop bought bodysuits (onesies) as each newborn needs some cute bodysuits to wear with a skirt or trousers and a little cardigan.  
      Both the apple and bird are attached using raw edge applique to allow the edges to fray slightly when washed, and the apple stem, bird's beak, feet and eyes are sewn with co-ordinating thread.  The bow is 3D, it was fashioned into shape and lightly sewn onto the suit.  
      Welcome to the world Freya.

      ----------     Bloganniversary     ----------
      This month is my one year blog anniversary and to celebrate I am sharing the apple and bird patterns, here they are: 
      Click on the image to open a larger version.

      I used the pattern on a bodysuit for a baby aged 3-6 months, and the pattern can easily be increased.  A new mum gets so many clothes for a newborn I like to give something the little one can grow into.


      Saturday, 12 June 2010

      Like the Twilight Saga?

      If like me you became OBSESSED with the Twilight Saga books then you may have heard Stephanie Mayer has published an Eclipse novella called 'The short second life of Bree Tanner'. 

      Here's the good news - as a gift from Stephanie it is available to read online and for free at until the 5th July 2010.

      What are you waiting for?

      Friday, 28 May 2010

      Bleaching fabric

      Sometimes does not work.

      It's the first time I have tried to lighten fabric and decided to use the bleach.  Before starting I read some instructions on the internet, placed each fabric colour in a separate mixture of warm water and bleach for several minutes.  

      Here they are, can you tell the difference?  

      No.  Neither can I.  

      Do you have any suggestions for future attempts?

      Saturday, 22 May 2010

      Do sewing machines have their own quilts?

      In my house they do.

      This sewing machine quilt has been on my UFO list for sometime.  Over a year ago I woke one Sunday morning eager to try something new, made a sketch, worked out the dimensions and grabbed some old shirt fabric that I'd purchased 2 or so years ago from the NEC quilt show.  
      The quilt is to go under my sewing machine to stop it from damaging my kitchen table.  Some of the shirt fabric I really don't like is hidden under the machine and one of the very first fat quarters I purchased around the edge.  I have backed the quilt with more shirt fabric, and it's actually my favourite part.  This time I decided to go with white binding, it was probably a bad idea but I think it balances the colours in the quilt top.
      I'm tried out a different type of wadding for this project, I usually use Warm and Natural for bed quilts, but for a machine quilt cheap wadding will do.

      In Liverpool's new shopping area two new shops opened recently and yours truely just happened to pop by.  I'm not accustomed to shop openings and so why not take a moment to enjoy a glass of champaign and ord'erves.  Who am I to question their marketing techniques???


      Sunday, 2 May 2010

      Hen party gifts

      My friends Lauren and Jon are getting married in June and this bank holiday weekend is Lauren's hen party in London.  As I cannot go I put together a gift bag as a surprise and gave it to her on Friday night.

      Hen parties usually include an alcoholic drink or two so I included a bottle of Italian wine (they are getting married in Italy), goblets, a pack of hangover tablets, a tube map of London, and Mr and Mrs Questions (with forfeits).  

      To tie in with the love theme the hen and each chick will receive packet of Love Heart sweets and a heart shaped biscuit made using this recipe.  Each biscuit was packaged in a bag and with a label designed by the boy. 

      It is common for hens parties to have a clothing theme and for Lauren's each chick will receive a fabric flower that can be worn as a corsage or in the hair, and as every bride to-be needs a veil I made Lauren's using a head band, a flower and some netting from my stash.

      Lauren, I hope you have a great weekend.


      Thursday, 29 April 2010

      Mexico by numbers

      1 wedding
      1 lost engagement ring (mine)
      1 engagement
      2 hospital visits
      4 extra days on holiday (thanks volcano)
      6 days with heavy rain
      7 activities I participated in - aqua aerobics, yoga on the beach, stretching class, salsa dancing, beginner tennis lesson, face mask workshop and a scuba dive taster
      12 full days of sunshine
      13 bouts of food poisoning
      18 days on holiday
      22 members of the party
      648 cocktails drank

      It was an eventful holiday.
      I would like to thank June my mother-in-law for feeding our two little fluffy monsters while we were away.

      Wednesday, 28 April 2010

      It never happens to me

      but it did this time.

      You may have heard a little something about an Icelandic volcanic eruption and its ash grounding flights to and from Europe.  Well, yep, I was one of those thousands and thousands of people stuck in another country.

      3 weeks ago I flew to Mexico with 21 other people for my sisters wedding.  With only a few days of the holiday remaining the wind changed direction, luckily for us we were in a great all inclusive resort and the holiday company covered the costs for the extra 4 days.

      The boy's brother was not so lucky, it took him and his girlfriend 4 days to travel home from southern Spain.

      It's good to be back.

      And happy St Georges Day, OK so it was on Friday but I was flying.


      Friday, 2 April 2010


      Happy Easter.

      Saturday, 27 March 2010

      What next?

      Warning, this is a random post.

      I'm going on holiday to Mexico for my sisters wedding and I want to take some sewing with me but what do I take?  Everything I can think of is either nearly finished, is something for my wedding so I don't want all of my relatives to see it, or involves a cutting mat and a sewing machine.  Suggestions on a postcard please.

      You may have noticed my 101 on 1001 listings below my posts and they are going OK, thank you for asking but I'm a little bit stuck on number 60 'Watch 10 classic films'.  So far I have seen:
      1. Sunset Boulevard.
      2. Some Like It Hot.
      3. Taxi Driver.
      4. The Great Escape.  I can't believe I have never watched this before.
      Here's the thing, I need 6 more classic films to watch, I must not have watched them before and they cannot be horror films.  Please help?

      And just because I have to add a picture to my posts, here's a photo of Formby Point.


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