Bunnies and floral prints to celebrate Spring….

pink blue and cream bunny face hangers

I think that’s been one of the fastest, flying by weekends I’ve known in a while….I just looked at my watch and was like how is that the time already…..most mornings I’m up pretty early (anywhere between 5.30 and 6) but I felt so completely shattered yesterday after doing the Spring fair in Holt yesterday (thank you again Ruth for all your hard work in organizing it) I forgot to set my alarm so slept right through til about 8 o’clock which is a proper lie in for me, and getting up late (and still feeling right tired) has meant I’ve felt behind for most of the day…..anyway I had a nice day in Holt and it was lovely to see some familar faces who popped by to say hello.

As I mentioned at the end of last week I’ve now listed some new pieces in my Folksy shop…more will be added in the next day or so but I thought these would be of interest if you’re buying presents to celebrate Spring……..

First up is a selection of children’s coat hangers….these are some of my favourite pieces to make….I’ve been using the bunny face motif now for more years than I care to remember…it started out adorning egg cosies, has been a brooch, a hair slide, and has appeared along the top of some baby blankets amongst other things.

grey face bunny

The coat hangers are made from vintage Witney wool blankets so are lovely and soft, (oh Witney wool blankets how I love you) …..they come in a range of colours including cream, a raspberry pink and a gorgeous orangey red. The bunnys and carrots are made from 100% pure wool felt and are hand sewn (even those tiny cheeks are sewn by hand)….then the hangers are filled with Norfolk lavender.

They look very sweet hanging up behind a bedroom door or from the architrave, especially when they’re displaying a party frock or a wee pair of dungarees….I also find it’s much easier to be tidier and to hang things up when there is a pretty hanger to hand.

I’ve listed  quite a selection and have left it up to you which two to chose if you want to buy a pair.  (Previously I’ve sold these as singles but the postage seems to cost so much for one that it makes more sense to buy two as that second one is pretty much pence then to post).

primrose bunny fabric bag

The second Easter item (though like the hangers you can use it all year round) are these draw string bags made from a soft primrose yellow vintage fabric with bunnies and ducks on it…..the bags are fully lined with a bright yellow floral print and measure about 10 inches by 15 1/2 inches.

floral print inside

They’re a nice size so you could use them to hold a selection of chocolatey Easter treats….but they also hold a book more than comfortably so afterwards could be used as a library book bag, or to hold soft toys and treasures…..

The drawstring tie is pretty sturdy so these can be hung up from door hooks or coat racks if you want to use them as tiny PE bags for ballet class or just somewhere to pop in bits and pieces when bedroom floors need a quick tidy up of toys.

flower embellished egg cosy

Along with the bag is a little floral embellished egg cosy…I grew up in quite a chilly house (and to be honest most of the houses I’ve lived in since have been pretty parky too, and egg cosies and tea cosies were part and parcel of cold kitchens)…..I made these a few years ago and am selling the bag and egg cosy combined at a somewhat cheaper price than some of my other pieces.

As a little Easter treat, I’m also including a free Mystery gift which I’m sure will appeal to Bunny lovers.

If you order in the next day or so then these should all be with you before Easter, after Wednesday then you may not be so lucky but I’ll try my best to get anything posted out on the day it’s ordered.

Both the hangers and the draw string bags are also pretty handy if you’re in the middle of Spring cleans and tidy ups…

Hope whatever you did this weekend, you had fun and got to enjoy a little Spring sunshine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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a proper old pickle and a sleepy shawl stealing cat……

it's all a bit of a pickle

This is the current state of play in one corner on my work table….it’s a proper old pickle as I’m on “craft fair countdown” mode…..next Monday there’ll be a quick tidy up then chaos will resume within hours….I always try and be neat and tidy but it never lasts for long…as soon as I start putting things away I always then need them straight away or just forget where I’ve put them.

Little piles of embroidery silks tumble over scraps of wool felt, I try to snip up the smallest pieces as I go along so I always have a ready supply of stuffing to hand….strands of silk I’m using for applique sewing float around everywhere and my footsteps down the stairs have become rather rainbow coloured the past few days…..

There’s a pointy tipped heap of skinny black pins, they were part of a birthday present, they come from Merchant and Mills and are wonderful to use…very sharp and they don’t rumple or bulge the felt as I lay out my applique…they’re also nice to use in finer fabrics as they’re so fine they don’t mark the cloth in the slightest.

work table chaos

I had the devil of a time yesterday trying to buy red velvet ribbon in the city…neither little haberdashery/sewing stall on the market carried it which is fair enough, but then when I went into a larger shop the girl in there looked at me like I’d asked for something really bizarre…to be honest she didn’t actually know what it was and then when I explained, said no she didn’t think they still made it. Sigh…so I ended up trekking down to Anglian Fashion Fabric on Magdalen Street which never lets me down, but was a bit further out then I’d intended to walk….I had a roll of lovely vintagey velvet ribbon from a car boot and now I’ve used it all up, I never thought it would be so hard to replace.

And I found 5 minutes to quickly pop into St Gregory’s Antique Centre as I was nearly all out of cream thread for sewing in the linings of my hot water bottles.  There is a very good haberdashery stall in there run by a lovely lady called Jenny, and it’s a rare old trip that doesn’t see me leave without a few brightly coloured reels of vintage cotton thread in a paper bag…memories of leaving sweet shops with a little bag of penny sweets always come to mind when I step out into the cold air.

detail of hand sewn applique

I’ve been sewing up hot water bottle cosies all week, hand sewing and embroidering little birds made out of pure wool felt onto vintage blanket fabric…at least with a pile of these on my lap I’m not feeling the cold.

detail of red bird applique

They’ve just gone into my Folksy shop as I’m trying to keep that nicely stocked up now til Christmas….

Originally the birds began life as brooches, just a couple of inches across, then slowly they grew a little larger and began to appear on notebook covers before they found their final home on tea cosies and hot water bottle covers.

I really like sewing using wool felt, it costs a bit more than the wool mix which a lot of shops seem to sell instead so I have to buy mine online…Handmade Presents is very good, they also sell wool felt which is plant dyed.  And the other place I buy from is Myriad (I’m also really tempted with their lovely wooden animals….

paws for a kitty toy

This is a bit of a secret sewing share now….between us (that’s me and my boyfriend)  we have five nieces, the ones on my side are all grown up now but in the past when they were all small and chubby of knee I’ve made them fairy dolls and mermaid ones (including one that came out so big she looked like she could have wrestled Moby Dick), but our other two are still pretty wee….I’ve made them both stockings and crochet blankets, but only Maggie has had any dolls made for her.  I ran out of time last year but this year I wanted to make Eliza an animal doll…her mum told me she really likes cats so I’ve started work on what I’m calling “licky paws”…(when I was asked for baby names licky paws was one of my suggestions and thought it would be a good working name for this little kitty).

The body is made from a Llama hair coat I bought years ago in Wells, it’s lovely and soft, yet the fabric is nice and robust and you can stuff it really firmly….the kitty pads are hole punched pieces of wool felt, made from the tiniest of scraps I get left with after cutting out my applique birds.

Turning the arms and legs right ways out always makes me feel like I’m going to bust something and have a hernia pop out…I seriously do not know how Sasha manages to make her dolls without doing herself a proper mischief as she often uses blanket fabric and I can’t turn that for toffee.

For now I’ve sewn the arms and legs, and need to stuff all of them before wedging them in the body but I won’t have time until after the 12th of December which is the date of my last fair.

the sleepiest cat in the world

The weather here has been pretty rotten…Bernard seems to dash out, do the world’s quickest wee then is back and nestled down in my shawl (it’s mine, not his even though he’s covering it in cat licky smell, and the look he gave me the other night when I went to put it round my shoulders was hilarious…puffed out cheeks and whiskers right forward….)

He’s feeling all sorry for himself at the moment, the kittens from next door beat him up…well we think it was them as they don’t seem to get on too well.  Bernard’s face is all scratches and he’s a bit flinchy when we stroke his head…the kittens are like 4/ 5 months old max, so he’s a bit of a wussy really.

He’s still jumping up on the sofa and cuddling alongside me in the early hours though the time is now spent embroidering snowflakes on stockings rather than knitting….but he’s been very good with the knitting wool.  I’ve been knitting up a couple of swatches for the British Breed swatch kal on Ravelry and the wool I used was lovely and sheepy scented so maybe he can smell the animal so leaves the wool alone…he sniffs it, rubs his face on it and there was a bit of licking at first…but he’s not run off with it or thrown it on the floor like he’s done in the past…..anyway, this one is for mon ami Celine….

The calming scent of gingerbread and finding pieces of wool felt stuck to my elbows…..

 

It’s all a bit chaotic here at the moment, those precious early first hours of the morning of the past month are no longer for knitting but instead have given way to embroidering and hand sewing (too early to use the sewing machine as I’d wake half the house) … in between trying to keep my Folksy shop stocked up and the weekly Christmas fairs about to start, I’m getting a bit fraught and frazzled, feeling I’ve not made enough but barely being able to carry what I have made with me when I do a test run….and my first fair (which is a two day affair) is only a week away.

sewing the snowman scarf

Tiny pieces of felt cut out and all ready to applique on the stockings and snippets of embroidery thread are trailed around the house, pinned pieces are put down in between making pots of tea only to wonder where the devil I’ve put them (the times I’ve checked my elbows to find the wool felt stuck to a cardigan sleeve)…when it all gets too much I head outside, the marshes are bit boggy so I have to keep to the path rather than go off over the meadows but it’s just enough to  blow the cobwebs away, get a breath of air before another sewing session…

When I’m sewing early in the morning I’m aware of every noise, every creak of the scissors or the clink of them being placed down on the table, the delicate clutter and scrape of pins moving about…even the sound of the thread being pulled through the thick wool blanket fabric, a low dragging sound which I never seem to notice in the day time….trying hard not to wake anyone else….

hania's stocking 009

In the middle of all this I decided to make some gingerbread and a couple of days later I can still smell a faint waft of spices and treacle in the kitchen….the gingerbread came out really well, very dark, sticky and so spicy scented (I use both fresh and dry ginger, plenty of cinnamon and a good dash of clove go in too….and rather than chop the fresh ginger I like to use a ginger grater which you can buy at health food shops or at an Asian foodstore.  There’s something about making it which calms me right down, just opening the cupboard doors and seeing those familiar tins of golden syrup and treacle…green,gold and red tins which I grew up seeing in our pantry and also when I’d go up the road to Nanny’s house, she’d also have them tucked away on a shelf. Tins of comfort….oh Tate and Lyle please never ever change them.

gingerbread man 003

(gingerbread man made by my friend Sasha)

The smell of melting butter, syrup, treacle and sugar, the soft warm aroma of spices from far far away (well to be fair I buy all mine from Gareth and Jane on Norwich Market but it’s lovely to imagine the hot and exotic lands they come from)….lining a baking tin, mixing in cream and eggs, flour….stiring and making wishes (I always make a wish with gingerbread)……then just letting it sit quietly in a warm oven where it slowly rises and fills the whole house with the smile inducing, “this is the smell of Winter” scent of spices and sugar…..

pinning branch

I’m very generous with the amount of spices I use, evoking proper old European spice cakes (rather than an insipid flavouring added in high street coffee shops) and then make a thick lemon juice icing to be spread on top (in my eyes gingerbread is medicinal, it doesn’t count as cake and the more spices and lemon juice in there , well the better it is for you.)…I also add a couple of tablespoons of dried rose petals which are ground really fine that I can dust them in like icing sugar….no one ever can tell they are in there but I’m aware when I don’t use them.

In my mind I associate gingerbread so much more with The Brothers Grimm or other European folk and fairy tales than Christmas time really, it’s the smell and scent of those stories…..I only make it in the Winter months (I can’t imagine eating it in the Summer…nope, just tried and screwed my face up with the very idea of…) and once I make the first sticky, spicy scented batch of cake then I feel like my Winter has begun, we might not always have snow, but I’ll always have a batch of dark, treacley gingerbread in a tin in the kitchen.

embroidered bird

So the first “spell” of Winter has been cast…the gingerbread is out of the oven and as the scent of spices and warm baking fills the house, so does the feeling of calm and happiness. The pace of the sewing slows, becomes a little less frantic, a little less fraught.

 

 

It’s beginning to feel a lot like…….

A stocking for Charlie

I’ve spent the past couple of days quietly playing Christmassy music while I update my Folksy shop with Christmas stockings….and while it’s still too early for Johnny Mathius to be playing, I’m happy to listen to a little Enya* and Kate Bush** to help me feel a bit more seasonal…..

One of my favourite things I’ve made over the past few years have been these Christmas stockings…originally I made wee ones for my sisters and mum, filling them with a variety of old style gifts, walnuts, a handful of quality street, chocolate coins, a tiny bottle of Baileys, satsumas, a couple of hand made presents squished in there too….but I also make these proper big ones which if you’re little you can almost wiggle right down to the bottom of.

Kornelias stocking

These are some commissions that I had last year, Charlie’s stocking went off to Ireland, and Kornelia’s went to Norway.

ivos finished stocking

This one was made as a gift for our friends Adam and Goska, Ivo was the latest addition to their family of poppets….(I’m waving a big hello to Saski and Hania at this point….I think Hania can eat more pink smarties than anyone else I’ve ever met)

All the embroidery on the stockings is sewn by hand using a selection of tapestry wools.  The applique is all stitched too (yep, even those pink cheeks are sewn not glued)…I only use pure wool felt, the colours are lovely and soft and the felt itself is much nicer to work with.

little pink stockings

These are probably my favourite ones….I really like the small size, I think they’re ideal for filling with little things to keep anyone who wakes up too early entertained while you go and get the kettle on….crayons, tiny colouring books, a couple of chocolates or a satsuama….and I’ve checked, they’re also a perfect fit for posh bottles of scent or those little boxes that are lined in velvet and which have something expensive and twinkly inside.

stockings for the boys 005

These stockings were made for my friend Debbie’s two nephews Kielan and Nate…..I like to incorporate the soft stripes at the top of the vintage blanket but then I try not to overwhelm with too much applique…even for me, sometimes less is more.

All the stockings are fully lined using either recycled or vintage fabrics….

When I have a big pile of these on my table, embroidery wools and scraps of wool felt around me, I feel a bit like an extra from Santa’s workroom (I’m sorely tempted to make myself a hat like the elves wear in Elf….)

Christmas Dec 2nd 019

I’ve also made them for friends who like vintage things…it’s not hard to put together a nice present that doesn’t cost the earth (literally and for your purse)……admittedly the book didn’t quite fit but everything else fitted in fine, along with a little bottle of “Christmas Spirit”, nuts and a satsuama.

The first of the Christmas fairs where you can find me is a two day weekend event at Norwich Assembly House on 28th and 29th of November, on the 5th December I’ll be at Chantry Hall in Norwich for the Green Party Christmas Fair, and on the 12th December I’ll be at Norwich Arts Centre for the Clutter City Fair (and my friend Sasha who makes the wonderful toys will also be there, she’ll also be at Glory Days in Holt on the 28th November with a selection of toys, bunting and cushions.)

cat napping

And a quick picture for my friend Celine…here is your darling Bernard…he was my little assistant yesterday though he seemed to spend most of the time just napping, gently snoring and thankfully no trumpety tunes from his bottom.

*Enya …And Winter Came

**Kate Bush…50 Words for Snow

All ready for a Super Spring Fling Fair in Holt……

floral sewing set

 

I’m all in a pickle trying to get things ready in time for tomorrow’s Spring Fair at Glory Days in Holt…I’ve hurt my wrist (actually it’s been painful for a while and the sensible thing to do would have been to rest it but oh no, I kept sewing and now every stitch is at tortoise speed) so I seem about two weeks behind where I really wanted to be…..at the moment the air is all lavender scented as I’m filling little hand sewn sachets with lavender…I’m keeping an eye on the door as Bernard loves lavender and keep expecting him to jump up and scatter lavender everywhere……

Everywhere round the house are dotted small piles of items I’m planning to bring along with me…I don’t know if it’s a really good business plan but I only really make things that I’d like to have myself….I love pincushions, and find I can never have enough…..these ones are stuffed right full of tiny snipped pieces of fabric scraps and hold pins really tightly, they’ve also been hand pieced together over papers.

 

group of small needlecases

 

Each time I make a batch of needle-cases I always end up falling a little in love with them and find myself popping one into my work box for myself (I now have needle-cases for every type of needles under the sun)…these ones are patch-worked with some hand embroidery detailing over top…

 

yellow peg bag

 

I’m also bringing along some embroidered peg bags…..these are all fully lined with vintage fabrics.

 

flower brooch 21

 

These tiny flower posy brooches are one of my most favourite things…I’ve made them to match most of my wardrobe, and last year “hunky Hugh” (a big burly policeman who wears the most brightly coloured socks) commissioned me to make him one to match a beautiful tweed coat…..each posy brooch is crocheted with the backs being covered in pure wool felt……

 

tea cosies 007

 

I’ve still got a couple of bird tea cosies left, these have been hand appliqued using pure wool felt.  They’re double lined with some extra thick vintage blanket used as wadding….these cosies keep your tea super hot…I’ve also got some cup cake ones which I’ll be taking along too.

 

cosies for glasses 006

 

I made these glasses cases out of some beautiful vintage tweed fabric, and they’re lined with lovely thick velvet to help protect your spectacle lenses.

 

bunny faces and hangers 009

 

Some of the most popular items I’ve made have been these bunny faced child sized coat hangers …the hangers are made from beautifully soft vintage blankets filled with local Norfolk lavender…the bunnies are hand sewn using pure wool felt and even those little pink cheeks are sewn on by hand.

Along with the above items there’ll be some new embroidered items which I’m hoping to write about in the next few days.

Time for a cup of tea and back to filling linen sachets with lavender and roses.

My friend Sasha will also be at the Spring Fair where she’ll have the most colourful stall full of beautiful handmade toys, cushions and general gorgeousness.  She doesn’t sell on-line and all her pieces are unique and one of a kind so it’s well worth the trip to see what she’ll have there this time.

Charlie and the Christmas stocking…….

A stocking for Charlie

 

Oh my goodness, where did that year go…..I can’t believe it’s December already, I’m looking at my (well one of them) to do lists and I’m not sure how it will all get done (my list making is famed far and wide!)…I went round a friends’s house last week and she already had most of her decorations up (her house was like the most wonderful Christmas wonderland ever….all she needs is a tree and she’s set…..secretly I think she must be half elf or maybe she was raised by elves like Buddy, because she loves Christmas decorating and can transform anywhere into the most magical and smile inducing place……

I’ve not even put up the advent calender I made a few years ago for The Arpette…I’ll try get that up while he’s at work today, I’ve already got some chocolatey treats to fill it (seriously you’d think a grown man could be trusted if I filled the whole calender….ohhh you’d be so wrong.  In the past I’ve noticed the calender hanging at a semi drunk angle and realised chocolates were missing from random days, so I’ve learnt my lesson and only fill a couple of days now so the temptation isn’t so great…..hanging this calender up on the wall is one of my favourite things to do pre Christmas…just seeing it makes me smile (I had to be all sneaky and furtive when I made it as I wanted it to be a complete surprise when he came downstairs)…it’s part of our family’s (me, The Arpette and Bernard) seasonal traditions….

…and maybe I’ll get the fairy lights strung around the pictures behind the sofa…..fairy lights make it feel Christmassy (good advice from Meg Ryan in You’ve got Mail….love love love that shop)…… We’re so lucky in Norwich.  We have the most lovely independent book shop called The Book Hive, and next door to it is possibly the nicest toy shop ever called Tickety Boo.  I’ve had to pop into there recently for birthday gifts for our tiny sized nieces, and on Saturday bought presents there to send to Norway.  The staff were so helpful and friendly, and the toys are just so pretty…no plastic tacky rubbish but really nice things and even though I’m on a tight budget I thought they were reasonably priced and good value for money.

(tip to people who ask friends or relations what to get their children for Christmas and they pfaff about telling you or say “oh they like anything”….threaten to buy a penny whistle or kazoo……you get a present list extremely quickly!

Sorry I’ve rambled off on a bit of a one…

 

top of Charlies stocking

 

I posted this stocking off to Ireland on Saturday…there’s a little lad there who must have been a very good boy indeed as this is one of my Super sized stockings….These really are whoppers…..there isn’t much which won’t fit into them, possibly even Charlie himself!

If you’re in Norwich in a fortnights time ( Saturday December 13th*) I’ll be donating one of the Super sized stockings in the raffle at the Green Party Christmas Fair which is at the St. Thomas’s church rooms on Earlham Road in Norwich (it’s next to the Mitre pub if you’re feeling thirsty)…Bob Flowerdew from Radio Four’s Gardener’s Question Time will be opening the fair.

 

Snowman close up

 

……and then this Saturday coming (December 6th ) both me and my friend Sasha will be at Clutter City which is at Norwich Art’s Centre……so between now and then I can see it’ll be a bit of a sewing frenzy….with some fairy light flinging and calender hanging in there as well.

*I’m very excited because me and my foraging companion (the Delightful Miss Dasiy Bennet who makes the most delicious sloe gin of all time) have tickets to see the funniest woman in the world at The Playhouse  in Norwich later that same evening……Bob Flowerdew and Susan Calman in one day…..I think I’m just going to explode.

Sewing stockings and getting photo bombed by Bernard…..

finished stockings

 

I thought I’d just show some of the working stages that go in to sewing my Christmas stockings…..these ones were for Samuel’s mum and dad (Samuel had his own one last year)…..

 

sewing the snowman scarf

 

After the motifs have been sewn, and the snowflakes have been embroidered, I then crochet a little scarf for the snowman, from past experience I find if I sew them in place when I’m still embroidering snowflakes they just catch up on the embroidery hoop (I’m still searching for nice fat embroidery hoops or a very small quilting hoop that can cope with the thickness of embroidering blanket wool).

 

pinning pompom trim

 

I’ve up-graded my tatty old piece of blanket from a few weeks ago, I’m now using one of nice new needle cases which looks a bit scary in the above picture, the needles and pins are just wedged in there somewhat higgledy piggledy ……

I like to pin then hand sew the pom pom trimming into place, I’ve tried using a sewing machine but the pom poms always caught up in the foot so found hand sewing to be rather less stressful….and I can listen to the wireless at the same time (actually at this point in the year I get out all my Christmas cds….I have a rather alarmingly sized  collection……and tend to have them playing while I’m sewing. They help me feel nice and Christmassy especially if the weather outside is just rainy and overcast).

 

a messy work table

 

I try to tidy up my sewing table each night, scissors get put away, all the ribbons and trimmings get put back into their respective shoe boxes.  Embroidery silks and sewing cottons get popped back into baskets, tins and work boxes. When I’m sewing a lot of the same, such as stockings, or hot water bottle cosies, I just push things back to around the edges of the table and then continue sewing the next day.

I kind of like the mess, ribbons and trimming, silks and threads, pieces of felt and templates all mixed up together……but after a few days it has to be tidied and sorted.  Partly my table is only so big and I start to run out of space, but also there will be some small item or a particular shade of floss I can’t find……or Bernard finds the mess rather an attraction and will want to nest himself in it. Right now it’s midway, which is when it’s at the right balance between knowing where things are and it being too much like my teenage self’s side of the bedroom.

 

photo bombed by Bernard

 

Talking of Bernard, this is what I have to put up with when I’m trying to take pictures…..the cat photo bombing.  He had a little game with the chocolate coins, chucking them all on the floor…..which is probably better than the “now you see it now you don’t” game I play with them where they end up in my tummy!

 

 

The anticipation of a lumpy bumpy bulging stocking……

close up of stockings

 

I’ve just finished sewing a couple of Christmas stockings.  These two were for a commission I received a couple of weeks ago.

I’m particularly pleased with the little Father Christmas face, he’s a new motif I made last weekend….it’s his rosy cheeks that I love the most (I just want to squeeze and pinch them).

 

finished daddy stocking

 

Last year I made one of the Super sized stockings for a wee chap called Samuel and it was smashing to hear again from his mum and dad asking for stockings this year for themselves…. it’s really special to know something I’ve made becomes part of someone’s family traditions at Christmas.

 

finished mummy stocking

 

These are both pretty large stockings and fill up nicely with a variety of presents in different sizes…I’m quite traditional with what I fill our stockings with, I always like filling the toes with foil wrapped chocolates, walnuts, chocolate coins and small oranges.  Then higher up maybe smaller sized bottles of something nice to drink and small gifts, with more chocolates (I tend to buy a big tin and cram a handful in when I’m stocking filling…..saving the strawberry centred ones for myself as those are my absolute favourites and figure no one else really likes those ones do they…) and a couple of striped peppermint canes poking out the top.

I love thinking about what’s going to get put in the stockings people buy from me…..do they get hung up from the fireplace before bed….do they magically appear on Christmas morning, spilling out brightly coloured presents over the bed or floor.  We don’t have little ones that I can share this yearly ritual with, but I know how special it is when you are tiny to believe in the magic of Christmas.  And the anticipation of what might be in a lumpily bumpily bulging Christmas stocking is something we never grow out of.

 

 

 

 

A stocking for Charlie

Sewing the Pudding

 

In between sewing the needle cases and stuffing the pin cushions, and making patterns and toiles for Lil Day-zee (I’ve given her a rapper name!) I’ve also been embroidering and appliquing some Christmas Stocking commissions…..  this one is for a little boy called Charlie.  He’s obviously been a very good chap because it’s a Super Size one (seriously these are big boys……they look brilliant when they are stuffed full with presents)

All the wool felt applique is sewn on by hand, I tend to use a mix of vintage threads and embroidery silks. Needles range form a very fine embroidery one, to super sharp sharps and a tiny quilters between.   It’s sometimes a bit of a struggle to keep the blankety fabric in the embroidery hoop….wish wish wish so much I could get a fat hoop (like the chunky quilters hoop) but in small embroidery hoop sizes…I’ve tried looking on -line and asking in shops but to no avail…..

 

Christmas tree

 

The Christmas tree always takes a while as first I cut out the tiny “baubles” (I use a regular hole punch for this, I bought a one holer but it wasn’t thick enough for the felt to fit under, so now I just carefully fit my felt underneath one of the holes in a regular two holer and that works fine.  I keep the plastic off and once the punch is through, I hold it down and remove the bauble with a little help from a pin) then each one is stitched into place using just one strand of embroidery silk (or fine silk sewing thread).

 

Snowman

 

Possibly my favourite motif is Mister Snowman, these remind me so much of the giants that my dad used to make me and my sisters when we were small.  (Dad was really tall so could lift the heads on the snowmen for us)…..ours never had a fancy top hat to wear though (did snowmen ever wear top hats….) but they had carroty noses and pieces of coal form the coal scuttle for eyes, mouths and buttons……now I’m all worried, what on earth do people use now-a-days to decorate their snowmen…..

This chap still needs his scarf,  I tend to crochet those but sew them in place once all the snowflakes have been embroidered into place (if not it tends to catch in the hoop) He’s a nice big size, measuring just over 6 1/2 inches in his topper.  I love his smiley face, and if he came alive like in the animation then I’d definitely want to have a dance with him.

 

Christmas pudding

 

This is the Christmas pudding all finished……it’s studded with “fruit” and is topped with a sprig of holly.

There is also a little stocking to be embroidered at the top of the big stocking, and then the background is embroidered with snowflakes.  I love making these, and hope Charlie enjoys hanging this up come Christmas Eve.

 

I don’t know if you’ve already read this article from The Huffington Post back at the start of the year…….we don’t have children and the ones we know I tend to make toys for rather than buy any, however I was kind of aware of this but not really the extent.  One of my sisters used to love Holly Hobby when we were small and she had a collection of beautiful soft Holly Hobby dolls (not the scary china dolls, but lovely soft dolls that are made for cuddling) and well, I was somewhat shocked when I saw what Holly Hobby looks like nowadays… I love the little girl form the original Lego ad though, she’s brilliant and she looks so pleased with what she’d made. Growing up, me and my sisters had a huge box filled with coloured Lego, we’d tip it out all over the floor and build things, inevitably my mum or dad would step on a piece and we’d get told off but it so was brilliant to play with.  The toy of my childhood was definitely Lego.  (and you should check out Sean Kenney‘s site…..his work with Lego is amazing)