Tuesday, 31 December 2013


I hope everyone has had a suitably lovely festive time. It's been another quiet Christmas here and that's been fine as we don't really 'do' the Christmas thing in a big way. For me it's a chance to have the time to gather nice ingredients together and try some new recipes which I have and which turned out quite well.

As it's been pretty much grey, damp and chilly I've also stayed in and tried to keep warm and do some crafting, I am currently making some of my Harris tweed brooches.

They look quite interesting on the back too.

I'm just adding sheep, and embroidering heather onto them but work has stopped today with cold hands!

It's drawing to the end of 2013 and it's another year I am pleased to see the back of. I had hoped for better as 13 is a lucky number for me but it wasn't quite so this year. I've only achieved a couple of the things on my internal to do list, getting my Barista qualification and getting editorial into magazines but there are other irons still in the fire.
Lets hope 2014 is the year when I achieve much more.

I wish everyone a wonderful happy and healthy new year and it will be lovely to 'chat' with you again on the other side! x

Wednesday, 25 December 2013


Happy Christmas everyone.
It's sometimes the cute little presents which mean the most and my dear friend sent me this wonderful little chap to go with my decorations, a little red clip together reindeer. He sat and watched over me as I tucked into a tasty feast this afternoon.

Enjoy the rest of the day :) x

Monday, 23 December 2013

Festive mixed media collages

Really not feeling festive, less so than usual, still full of cold and haven't been out for food shopping in days (the plan is late tonight!). Haven't felt like doing my usual baking, the house is at it's coldest on a windy day like today as the drafts and wind chill blow right through.

I wanted to enjoy this festive season just a little bit knowing that I am working on this being my last, cold, miserable Christmas in this house but I think my cold has zapped all the energy out of me.

However the week before the cold I did enjoy making some festive collages as I often do for using as my own Christmas cards or digital greetings.

I've been recycling old pages from a book which provides a really nice surface for drawing on and I've simply used a black pen for patterning up some festive images.

The collages have some cut out details which are inlaid with contrasting paper, I have also machine stitched some parts, rubber stamped and then digitally added some finishing touches and lettering.

Here is one of my finished robins.

I also did a stag image

And then for a final bit of fun I thought the images might make nice stamps so I adapted them into my own postage stamps.

Festive good wishes everyone and hope you are keeping warm and safe from the strong winds and high tides.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Happy Winter Solstice

Whatever your persuasion this festive season today is a good day (despite me being full of cold), we welcome back the light to our days. The shortest day will come and go and then we can all look forward to spring and all the hope & anticipation a new year brings. 

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Some making, baking, shopping, coffee & packaging

I had the Aga serviced the other day so that it's as good as can be for my Christmas cooking, and for some warmth downstairs! Before that happened and earlier in the week, whilst it was at a low temperature, I made a couple of mini Christmas cakes. It's a recipe I tried and enjoyed last year, from the Boutique Baking book. Here we have before and after baking.

I have slowed down with crafty things as it's too cold in the house but I'm doing some crochet and I made a few of these little stocking tree decorations, one of which is winging its way to my giveaway winner Helen.

Also managed a couple of days off last week and went to Scarborough to the wonderful Eat Me Cafe for a plate of their legendary creamed mushrooms on toast.

Whilst walking through the woods and gardens in Scarborough I met this little chap, I know he's not native and I'm a huge fan of supporting the reds but he was very cute and came right up to me on the edge of this wall, he actually looked like he was going to jump on my arm for the promise of a bit of food!

I spotted this fairly traditional Nutcracker in a shop in Scarborough.

On a trip to York I spotted this rather unusual Nutcracker.

Also in York I did a bit of festive shopping and it is lovely when some shops get it so right. The atmosphere in the shop, pleasant staff, the interesting items and the lovely packaging, the shop I went in was The Imaginary and it seems to be part of the Yorkshire Soap Co, look at the pretty pink bag.

All my items were beautifully wrapped by a charming young chap with a waistcoat and cravat. Inside the bag I had bought some pretty glass candle holders, they looked very festive and traditional when lit in the shop.

Another little treat for me, a pretty silk scarf with birds on. Did I buy anything for anyone else I hear you ask..... 

I did buy a few bits, I don't have a huge circle of people to buy for which is handy as I don't enjoy shopping much. Plus, this year, I've decided with a couple of friends that we have reached the point and age were we all have enough stuff and maybe we should cut back on the gift buying for cost and practical reasons. Fortunately these friends were quite difficult to buy for so that has taken some pressure off.
I really like to make a handmade gift but I haven't had time recently and I know that puts some pressure on other friends to make me one back and I don't want to do that as we all have enough festive stress, but it is still nice to find pressies for people you understand well and know what they like.

The thing I'm least liking spending money on this Christmas is cards, or rather stamps for the cards, they are so expensive. I do like to send cards because a card and a letter is one way, once a year when I get to catch up with friends who live far and wide. I think I will probably aim for sending more digital greetings in the future if stamps continue to go up, the stamp is becoming as costly as the card!

Something I have gone a bit mad with is coffee, I had a delivery of these bags of beans this week and I think I have another 3 bags to arrive before Christmas, part of these are my subscription coffees and some others are ones to experiment with over the holidays.

That reminds me, time for coffee!...

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Another winner

To make it a bit more of a draw, as well as the people who commented I have popped 2 other names in the so called hat and I now have a new winner, it is Helen Jean. Well done to you and if you can make contact today I will be doing a post office trip tomorrow so could get that off to you.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

First come first served for giveaway tomorrow

Hello dear readers, well I don't think my festive giveaway winner has returned to the blog since leaving a comment and it is difficult to chase people if they don't join and follow the blog. So my deadline was today for Katie to get in touch but it's looking doubtful and I would like someone to have a little festive treat. Tomorrow I have decided to pick 5 further names and it will be on a first come and comment, first served basis as to who gets the gift.

If you don't want to leave your email address on the comment box for spam reasons then just say hi and because I don't think I have a button for you to email me, your best bet is to click my Folksy link and you can send me a message through that with your address.

I hope to list 5 names sometime after 11am.
Good luck

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Festive Giveaway result

Thank you all so much for your tweedy comments and for entering my festive giveaway.

I had 14 names to enter.

Drum roll please as they go into the bag....

And here we have the winner...

Well done Katie Skeoch a little festive gift is your. Katie can you leave me a comment on this post with an email address so that I can contact you for your postal details please. I'm not sure if you follow the blog & I am unable to contact you so I can give you until Weds 11th to make contact and then if I don't hear anything I may have to draw a runner up.

Many thanks all.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Harris Tweed Nutcracker & my festive giveaway

Since my nutcracker dolls were featured in Mollie Makes magazine I have had lots of new Twitter followers and increased traffic to my Folksy shop which has been great.

I think I'm nearly all nutcrackered out but I wanted to challenge myself to make one final doll in one of my favourite types of fabric, Harris Tweed.

Some years ago a bloggy friend who used to live on Harris, gave me a bag of scraps for crafting and using the scraps was my challenge. My colour palette was limited to what scraps I had in a big enough size to use but eventually he started to take shape.

And here he is all finished, let me introduce you to Nutcracker King, Baron Von Stornoway.

I even found some plain black tweed for the boots and hat, but not quite enough for the back of the hat so it's in the herringbone.

A true Scotsman had to have fiery red hair and a sporran!

I'm quite pleased with how he has turned out because the tweed is quite tricky to sew with for the smaller embellishments.

So as we approach the festive season I think it is time to draw a veil over my nutcracker making and I would like to celebrate having my tutorial in print by holding a festive giveaway on the blog.
The gift will be a handmade surprise and all you need to do is leave me a Harris Tweed themed comment, eg. have you ever made anything in tweed or have you bought a tweed garment?

Let me have your comments by midnight Friday 6th Dec and then I can send the gift in good time. You will need to check back at the blog to see if you won.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Ta dah! It's out today, Mollie Makes magazine with a tutorial by me

I have been excitedly waiting for this day since I started my project back in July.
The winter issue of Mollie Makes, out in the shops today, has a tutorial by me and I know some of you have guessed it is my much loved Nutcracker character.

My starting point was an illustration I did of a Nutcracker a couple of years ago and I turned that into these simple cut and sew kits.

This summer I had the idea to bring him to life and turn him into a 3D rag doll so I set about working the proportions out, creating his outfit and all the trimmings and embellishments which went with it.

This was prototype number 1.

Next we have prototype number 2 and you can see he's become a bit more handsome!

It seemed to take ages, actually the longest bit was photographing each stage of the 'make' and then writing it down in a way people might be able to follow it.
You know how it is when you create something yourself and you know all the sneaky ways around things but you can't quite put it into words, a bit like that!

So, eventually I got there and I sent off 3 Nutcracker dolls to Mollie Makes at the beginning of October as it turned out to be a tight deadline once I got the go ahead.

I'm absolutely delighted it has gone into print for others to try. I would like to say that I think they have edited some of the photo stages for the tutorial and therefore if anyone has a go but finds it a bit tricky, do let me know and I can send the full detailed instructions I created. It has quite a lot of embellishments which make it a bit more involved and I guess they had to keep the pages to a minimum.

I took lots of photos with Nutcrackers in festive settings but they didn't use those so I would like to display a few here. 
Most of these creations are for sale at Gallery 49 in Bridlington, one or two may find their way into my Folksy shop.

They do take quite a long time to make but I am still churning out one or two more in time for the festive season, I have even created a Sugar Plum Fairy to go with her Nutcracker! She might appear as a pattern at some point.

Thanks for sticking with all the pictures, this is one of my most exciting things to be featured in my favourite magazine.

Have a good weekend everyone, I'm going to get things ready now for my craft fair. :)