Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Despite it being really close to Christmas (6 sleeps!!) I have managed to squeeze a little crafting in but nothing finished (as usual) so no photo yet. I've done some more work on the purple pom-pom scarf and I've been doing some cross-stitch letters for personalised key rings (the pattern for which is in the most recent copy of Craftseller Magazine).

The books in the photo are two of the many gifts I received for my birthday yesterday (Happy Birthday to me) - Kirstie's new book and the Liberty Book of Home Sewing. I can't wait to sit down to read them, they are both filled with fabulous projects and beautiful pictures.

And craft also featured in my birthday in the form of this card, lovingly made by my mum.
This is definitely the last post before the new year so Happy Christmas, Happy New Year and Best Wishes to all!
See you in 2013
Love Natalie

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

I would like to tell you that I made this beautiful stocking but I'd be a liar - my sister made it! It is a Buscillia felt kit, rarely found in this country (though you can order on-line) but very popular in America. I started it but found it so fiddly that I really didn't enjoy doing it. Thinking I might have had it finished by next Christmas (I started it in October) I gave up in the end and asked Stevie if she wanted to do it - she returned it to me within a week! Each piece is individually cut, sequined, stuffed and then sewn onto the body of the stocking. Very labour intensive but with a stunning result. You can get stockings, wreaths, tree skirts......all sorts of kits. You can also get a kit of small Christmas characters as well. My parents have just returned from America where they stocked up on the kits for my sister, so we might have a stocking each next year!

I've just received my next issue of Homemaker magazine which is packed full of great ideas. BFF and I discussed not reading magazines this side of Christmas because the January issues seem to be talking about spring and really we would like to enjoy Christmas first! I couldn't resist though, so read it from cover to cover. It's a new magazine (this is issue 2) but it is a great read - lots of ideas of things to make and lots of really interesting articles and interviews with top designers (this month there is an interview with Orla Kiely). I shall be attempting the cosmetic purse featured this month for certain.

Its Christmas school disco time in these parts so I had better go and iron some party clothes - who knew that boys could care so much about their hair and clothing?!!

Love Natalie

Monday, 10 December 2012

With Christmas looming in the not so distant future, I might be a bit "slack" on the blogging front over the next few weeks, so bear with me!

I made some cushion covers yesterday by up-cycling some curtains given to me by a work colleague. They are a bit retro I think, good and thick material (as all good curtains are) and I think they would look great in a little boys bedroom. Despite having three "little" boys, none of them want one as we have fairly recently moved on from space ships. I might put them on eBay but if not, I finally have some "stock" to take to a future craft show - hurrah!

Though I don't think I'll have the time to make them, I saw a fabulous home made Christmas decoration on . Cinnamon Christmas trees - 2 felt Christmas tree shapes decorated with ric rac and buttons, stuck together with a cinnamon stick between as the trunk of the tree - so easy and yet so effective! If I don't make any this year, they are definitely on my list of festive decorations for next year.

Hang on in there folks, only 2 weeks to go.........I'm off to hang a bit more tinsel.
Love Natalie

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

I have just returned from a wonderful morning spent with friends - the annual Christmas       "Dressing Gown Day". Log fire, great film (which nobody was watching!) lots of tea, chat and food - mince pies, sausage rolls, chocolates, biscuits, nuts, crisps, I think some pretzels popped up at the end and Krispy Kreme Donuts. Let the Christmas feast begin! It had to end at dog walking time and now, pre school pick up, I thought I'd give you a couple of pictures of items I've worked on over the last few days.

This is the Mini Pom Pom scarf that I was working on last week. It is so soft but I thought it took a long time to knit, and unlike many scarf yarns, one ball wasn't really enough for a scarf. I have sewn the ends together to  make a snood which is beautifully modelled here by BFF. I can't say that I am totally pleased with it but Hazel loves it and another friend has already asked me to make her one so it must be better than I think. I've just started knitting a purple Pom Pom one that I'm hoping will be long enough for me to keep for myself.

This gorgeous cushion was made by Auntie Sarah at the weekend during our sewing machine afternoon. Sarah has a fabulous machine that she'd not used for a year so she needed a reminder lesson and I was only too happy to oblige. She brought along this beautiful material with which she wanted to make a cushion for her Grandma for Christmas and voila! This is the finished article. She made the cover at my house and fixed on the buttons, then took it home to "bling" with some sequins in the birds eyes. It's so pretty, I really love the fabric and she is quite rightly very proud of herself for making such a lovely gift. I had pre-cut some material for cushion covers which I put together on the day - we worked on our machines side by side at the dining table, a real little cottage industry. It was so much fun and definitely an afternoon to be repeated.

I'm off to the school Christmas trading event tonight, which is a craft fair I'd quite like to have a table at in the future. I was offered a table but had to turn it down as I haven't had enough time to make any stock! It is set to be a fun evening with lots of stalls to browse, from jewellery to cards, sewing to cakes. With mulled wine thrown in I believe! More mince pies as well I expect.......
Love Natalie

Monday, 3 December 2012

Today's post will be a catch up one as I think I have (as is often the case!) left a few things incomplete....

Firstly, this photo is of the cushions I was commissioned to make - they actually measure 68cmx68cm - huge! - but look fantastic in situ.

Secondly, this is a picture of the Vampire Duck, made by Archie last week

I may have given a little help doing the french knots but otherwise his own work. I think we've moved on to a zombie surfer dude this week.

And finally, #thepartyoftheyear went off without a hitch on Saturday and these are the cakes that were made by the very talented Other Auntie Sarah. Everybody was so impressed by them they were a little loath to tuck in but we've certainly made a significant dent in the skate ramp since we've been home! The kids all really enjoyed themselves and despite downloading all the current songs as requested, DJ Jazzy Jim had to play YMCA twice - hearing thirty 11 year olds singing this at the top of their lungs and doing the dance was hilarious! The girls were all beautifully turned out and the boys all looked like little cool dudes (is that a real "Mum" thing to say, Dude?). Glad its over    though - now......It's Chriiiiiiisssssssstttttmmmmmasssssssss!
I still have a scarf and a gorgeous cushion to talk about, but that'll have to wait till tomorrow due to the school run.
Love Natalie

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

At last! I've completed my Christmas hearts! I seemed to have made a start on them ages ago but I have finally finished them. They each have a small jingle-bell for a bit of added Christmassy-ness. I only noticed when I had taken the photo that the green stripey one seems to have a slightly awkward looking side but I will just have to hide this little imperfection when placing it on the tree. I have some other hearts cut out and ready to go but have been waiting for a delivery of some ribbon for the hanging loop. I was impatient with the waiting so I started knitting a Rico Mini Pom Pom scarf - now I have another unfinished project on the go! Have you ever made one of these scarves? The pom poms give you a wonderfully soft scarf but, despite there only being 13 stitches per row, it seems to be taking me ages to knit. The large pom pom scarves can be knitted in an hour but I've worked on this for the last two evenings and am only about half way through.
If any experienced (or otherwise) crafters are reading this, how do you keep focused on just one or maybe two projects (rather than having several on the go)? Or do you have lots of different things on the go and then they all come together at once? I've ended up having to turn down a stall at a Christmas fair because I haven't been able to make any stock because of all the Christmas orders I've taken. I'll be going along to the fairs to see what others have been up to so that hopefully next year I'll have time to make some stock and then have a stall of my own. I've been compiling a list in the meantime of things I'd like to make, along with some very amateur drawings of ideas, so I should have plenty to work with.
In the meantime, I'll try and finish the scarf and the hearts before moving onto anything else. Although I have just come across a pattern for a fantastic tote bag......
Love Natalie

Monday, 26 November 2012

I've mentioned several times that papercraft is not really my thing, it's my mums passion, and to illustrate I thought I'd post this picture of some of her creations. I have not only bought my cards but I have written them all as well! You are either congratulating me, thinking how fabulously organised I must be or you are swearing under your breath and calling me unspeakable names - either is acceptable! I know I will run out of time very soon so I have tried to get myself as prepared as possible. That didn't stop me from having a minor wobble on Friday that "Christmas is nearly here don'tcha know and I'll never be ready!", then I reminded myself that its not even December yet so I really ought to calm down dear.
It was the school Christmas fair at the weekend so not a lot of crafting went on. Archie received the Zombie Feltie book for his birthday on Friday so I did manage a little sewing to help him complete a Vampire Duck. He was really glad to receive this present (with all the materials needed to get going) as he has wanted to have a go for ages. His free hand drawing is amazing so he has no need to copy and enlarge the templates, he can just draw his own shapes. My house will soon be adorned with zombified felt creatures! My Christmas tree could end up looking a little Gothic if I'm not too  careful.
My crafting plans this week are to finish the Christmas hearts I've had on the go for ages and to make a couple of cushion covers from the spaceman curtains someone kindly donated to me. That and getting ready for #thepartyoftheyear on Saturday - 3 eleven year olds celebrating their birthdays with all of their friends at a disco before they all go off to Big School next year. I ought not to squeeze too much in before Saturday because I think I might need to conserve some energy! I'm off for a lie-down.......
Love Natalie

Friday, 23 November 2012

You can tell Christmas is around the corner - another very busy week! And still no photo! I can't apologise enough.
I have completed the up-cycled cushion covers - without the cushion pad the photo I took didn't do them any justice but I am promised a photo of them in-situ so I will post this as soon as I can. I also completed my last Christmas gift but am loath to post a photo in case the recipient sees it!
So, in lieu of lots of crafty updates I thought I'd give you a list of some of the other blogs and sites that I frequent for inspiration..... this lady and I seem to be living very similar lives in different parts of the UK. She makes beautiful craft items is great for browsing to see what other crafters are up to gives lots of hints and tips for crafters as well as a comprehensive list of other blogs make gorgeous items can offer you inspiration not only in craft but in life too goes to show just how professional craft can look is a great place to get new recipes, many a dinner in my house has started life here always makes me laugh my head off and reminds me that it really isn't only me..... as I have previously said, I know tea-towels aren't everyones idea of fun but this site is great
Lastly, I can lost in Pinterest for hours - will show you my boards then you can look at everyone elses. There are some of the most amazing photos I have ever seen posted on this site for the world to see.
Despite what the weather may throw at you, have a great weekend!
Love Natalie

Monday, 19 November 2012

No photo today as I have nothing to show off. That's not to say I haven't been busy on the crafting or baking front but I have nothing finished. I've done further work on my Christmas hearts, on the cushions covers I'm making to order and the last Christmas gift I have to make but still nothing completed. Baking wise, I had the blondest of blond moments on Saturday when I decided to make some gingerbread cookies. As I was cutting out the second round whilst the first were in the oven, I was overwhelmed with a "have I left the iron on?" feeling. It turns out, I HAD left the iron on - gingerbread cookie without the ginger anyone? How on earth did I fail to copy that key ingredient into my recipe book? I've been quite happily dipping the biscuits in my tea ever since but the end result wasn't quite what I was hoping for. I also made some flapjack which was all gone within minutes of being out of the oven. And I made another Pea and Pancetta Risotto for an impromptu supper with my BFF before we went to see Twilight. Oh my goodness! Have you seen it yet? Amazing. It is such a good interpretation of the book and I particularly like the fact that much of the dialogue is lifted directly from the book. I think this is the first film I've been to where everyone started applauding!
Love Natalie

Friday, 16 November 2012

I spent a lovely evening catching up with my oldest friend on Wednesday (oldest in that I've known her for ever, my actual oldest friend is someone else who shall remain nameless) and we managed to squeeze in some crafting. There are several Auntie Sarah's in our family and this one is "the one who always brings us something to make" - the children's words, not mine! But she does, and this week was no exception - she arrived with decopatch. Having been given some as a gift by a friend, she knew it would be right up my boys street so after a lovely tea (Pea and Pancetta Risotto courtesy of the ever fabulous Nigella Lawson) we sat down to decorate various tree decorations. I was allowed the shoe as this was far to girlie for any of the boys and I think Sarah nabbed a heart and a star. Predictably, a trip to Hobbycraft is now in order as the boys intend to make every tree decoration this year so we need supplies. I've been making some padded hearts with christmassy materials and have cut out some red felt hearts to make some decorations myself, so our tree should be burdened with a variety of homemade baubles come Christmas day. For the record, I really enjoy decopatch - I'd love to decorate one of the huge giraffes that are available. It is a little expensive but I think its a brilliant way to re-decorate old furniture and boxes and the paper does go a long way. I need to have a go using other papers but I'm not sure it would work so well. The decopatch specialist papers have such beautiful designs that I don't mind using them!
I shall be embarking on cushion covers this weekend, and finishing off another Christmas present. And finishing the hanging hearts. Blimey, the list is endless! Happy weekend everyone!
Love Natalie

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

After my impromptu browse for sewing machines last week, I went and purchased my first sewing machine at the weekend. And very pleased with it I am too. It's only an entry level one as I don't think I'll make use of the 57 stitches available with the next model up, and after having a really good play with it on Sunday, I can honestly say it does everything I was hoping for, plus a few extra things. After practising every stitch I made this little pin cushion as a test project and I think its turned out rather well - so well it has already been snapped up by someone so I shall need to make another one. I also practised making button holes for  ages because I needed to put 2 on my nieces Christmas present:

So, another Christmas present finished. This weekend I will embark on the 4 cushion covers that I need to make for a colleague of my husbands. Lots of buttonholes required as the cushions are 68cmx68cm so I'm thinking 3 buttons per cover. The fabric (an old set of curtains) is beautiful so I'm really looking forward to turning them into some fabulous accessories for their home.
I know it's only Wednesday but roll on the weekend when I'll be able to get back on with my crafting!
Love Natalie

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Liz Jones - friend or foe? Totally unrelated to craft or baking but I need to have a little rant.
Was anybody else enraged after reading Ms Jones' column in The Mail on Sunday at the weekend? Having attended the Blogger of the Year event with Mumsnet, the ever-present Liz had nothing but scathing remarks to make about bloggers and mums. Is she not a blogger of sorts herself? Anyone who can be bothered to read her piece in the You magazine on a Sunday will surely argue that her tales of woe from her luxury farm (we've now seen the For Sale pictures Liz, it doesn't look that bad to us) are the paper equivalent to an Internet blog about sewing, cooking, travelling or.....well, as we know, the list is endless. Her particular gripe seemed to be that some of these bloggers are mums who, through advertising on their sites, are able to stay at home with their children rather than go out to work. How dare they! The fact that they are interesting enough for people to read their blogs let alone have companies wanting to advertise with them should be cause for celebration. There's no advertising next to your column Liz. And her remarks about mums who, in her words, already get to have a holiday when their children are born (you and I would call it maternity leave) were almost unbelievable. The fact that some people choose to have children whilst others choose (deliberately or otherwise) not to goes to make the world a diverse place. On the whole, there isn't a lot of moaning about the fact that a childless couple gets to lie-in every weekend, can go out when they want, can come home at whatever time they want, has more money, can have an unfettered career (OK, so I may have had a little moan behind closed doors every now and then!). Is Ms Jones jealous? It clearly isn't enough for her that she was able to buy a house in the country, fill it with animals, renovate it, keep a journalism job in the city that many would lose a limb for, manage to retain a "Rock Star Boyfriend". Sometimes she is lonely. Sometimes she doesn't have very much money. Poor thing! Perhaps she should eBay some of the extensive goodie bag she accepted at the Mumsnet event to put food on her farmhouse kitchen table.........

Phew! I'll be back to cushions and cakes tomorrow, promise.
Love Natalie

Monday, 12 November 2012

Here is the post that I "misplaced" last week........!

As requested here is a photo of the birthday present labels that I recently made. As I've said before, papercrafting is not really my area of expertise but I really enjoyed making these and have used a couple already.
Not too much else to report on the crafting front at the moment - except for a impromptu shopping trip to look at sewing machines last night. A cheap, entry level one looks like it will do me but would it be better to spend more money, despite the fact that many of the additional features would go unused? I'd be grateful for your suggestions if you have ever been in a similar situation - comment below if you have any hints and tips. I'll get cracking with some projects so that I have more to report by the end of the week!
Love Natalie

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Apologies for no picture today but I had a technological hiccup yesterday - I posted a lovely picture of my birthday present tags (as requested by an avid reader - the only avid reader? the only reader??) and discussed my lack of finished projects - but clearly forgot to click on "publish"! I went straight on to delete the photo, use the labels and then returned later to see if anyone had made a comment and realised my mistake. Never mind - I like the labels so much I will definitely make more so will show you pictures at another time.
Due to the aforementioned lack of completed craft projects, I thought I would plug a fabulous website for anyone looking for a quirky Christmas gift - Now, I know that a tea towel is not everyones ideal present but go to the site and have a look - I first heard of it through and ended up spending ages browsing the site. They aren't cheap but are great quality and certainly brighten up boring kitchen chores. I'd be more than happy to receive one if anyone cared enough to buy one for me!
Love Natalie

Monday, 5 November 2012

Despite having the last week off work I think I've been at my most productive over the last couple of days. I managed to get all of the cutting out done for 2 more cushion requests yesterday and make a complete cushion cover. I also squeezed in three baking activities - Onion and Stilton Soup (a Nigel Slater recipe from the Sainsbury Magazine which was divine), Stilton biscuits (from the same magazine - they don't look great but taste delicious) and a Pineapple Upside Down cake that didn't go terribly well.....It went wrong in the making the syrup stage, which I've never done before (and possibly won't again!). The sponge was lovely, and we just picked off the pineapple and had lashings of custard, but if you know a)how I went wrong with the syrup, or even better b)which syrup to use rather than make from scratch, I'd love to know because I'd like to make it again.

Today's photos are of the Christmas present labels that I made with my Mum last week. They have turned out just as I hoped they would. I can't wait to wrap my presents now so that I can use them! I can honestly say that I had a warm feeling inside when I was making these labels - watching the embossing glitter start to sparkle when it was heated with the heat gun I felt really Christmassy (yes - I do need to get out more). Paper craft is Mum's area of expertise so I'm sure she watches such marvels everyday but to a novice like me it was amazing and left me with a big grin on my face. I also made a few birthday tags as I have many friends who (like Mum and I) have birthdays right on top of Christmas. I'll definitely make some more - I'll never buy a label again!
I think 7 weeks today it's Christmas eve.........eek!
Love Natalie

Thursday, 1 November 2012

I've finally got around to making something for myself! I love these cushions, I've made a few now and have several more to make as gifts. I'm really pleased with how it has turned out and despite a certain friend trying to steal it on her way home this morning, I am going to keep it for myself. I've recently ordered a beautiful charm pack to make a couple more in this style with a different colour scheme.
I also had a surprise parcel in the post today - I won a Search Press competition and received a copy of The Complete Machine Quilting Manual. Fantastic! I was so excited. I have never tried machine quilting before so this book will help me to try a new skill. It has some fabulous pictures of truly amazing quilts which themselves are quite inspiring. What a lucky girl I am today!
Last day of half term tomorrow so one last trip out with the children. Shame I'm back to work next week really!
Love Natalie

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Here is the picture that was lacking from my last post - the paracord bracelets and keyring. They're great for involving boys in crafting (although mine still love a bit of junk modelling given the chance!).
Despite it being half term I have managed to squeeze in some craft, in an attempt to cross a few items off my to do list. I have completed a cushion to keep for myself (pictures to follow when the day brightens up enough for me to take some photos); finished birthday presents for two girlfriends; I have done some planning for a Christmas cushion that went so wrong I have scrapped my original idea and come up with a new one; located and ordered the fabric I need for 2 further Christmas gifts to make; I spent two hours discussing all manner of craft ideas with my sister that has given me lots more ideas to work on! So, as with any to do list, as 1 item gets ticked off, 2 get added on at the bottom. At least this is an enjoyable to do list to be working on!
I'm off to spend the day making all sorts of things with my mum today which I have been looking forward to for ages. Happy Halloween everyone!
Love Natalie

Friday, 26 October 2012

I'm sorry for the lack of photo introduction today - I had a lovely picture of the man-made (as in made by a man) craft that has been happening in my house this week but the man involved seems to have deleted the picture. When I can get hold of him to find out what he's done with it, I'll try and post it. To give you some idea, there's a big thing going on with parachute cord around these parts at the moment. Ever the boy scout, James insists that he must be prepared for any failings of his parachute cord and therefore needs 6-8 feet of the stuff coiled around his wrist at all times! In the form of a fetching bracelet you understand. I'm not really mocking - it actually is rather good and has set the boys into a frenzy of making their own, which is great. I have also been given a lovely keyring made of the cord as well. There are lots of videos on the net showing you how to make the bracelets and/or "Monkey Fists" which are small balls that look similar to a type of nautical rope ball that I've seen used as a doorstop somewhere. You can buy the cord cheaply enough from eBay as I understand it, if your children/nominated parachutist want to have a go - I think the boys want to make some as Christmas gifts for their friends which is nice. And a homemade keyring will always go down well as a teachers gift.
For everyones benefit (but mainly my own) I also wanted to document my To Do list for next week as I will not be working. It reads as follows (so far):
  • Finish Christmas lavender bags - I've started so many other things, I'd forgotten I'd started these
  • Make patchwork panel for a cushion for my bedroom
  • Finish birthday presents that I've made for 2 girlfriends
  • Acquire fabric for a cushion to be made as a gift
  • Make present tags
  • Get mum to show my how to sew up the panels on a knitted cushion I've made
  • Plan Christmas cushions
I think I could go on but had better stop - if I manage to do all this whilst also entertaining the boys I'll be pleased! I just need to resist sitting at the computer really - reading other  peoples fascinating blogs makes time zoom by and though they are often inspirational, they can suck you in for hours. So, I'm off for a quick flick through pinterest, then I'll crack on......
Love Natalie

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

I'm in one of those predicaments at the moment where I know what I need but I just can't find it. I'm after a piece of material in a particular colour with a certain pattern - but don't ask me what it is! A very good neighbour and friend allowed me to rummage in her bowl of scraps yesterday - this is a photo of the gorgeous fabrics I had to choose from! I selected about a dozen patches/scraps for my future use, though I can't say that any of the ones I picked is the one I'm looking for. Never mind, the hunt continues but in the meantime I spent a glorious half hour or so running these fabrics through my hands thinking of all the possibilities.
Another Christmas present was completed last night (I can't obviously discuss in too much detail in the case the recipient is reading!) before I dosed off in front of the telly. I'm looking forward to the weekend when (aside from attending the Halloween party of the year) I will definitely be making time to sit at the sewing machine. It's Wednesday already, so I think its perfectly acceptable to be talking about the weekend!
I'm blogging slightly early today, which is likely to make me slightly late for dog walking - best be off!
Love Natalie

Monday, 22 October 2012

Ta da! This is a picture of the Pithivier I made on Saturday night - I had never even heard of it until the Great British Bake Off final but it will be added to my repertoire of recipes. It was delicious! It has a little room for improvement - the filling (chicken and chorizo with onions, peppers and sliced new potatoes) was a little dry. I layered everything and I wonder if it would be better mixed. And adding some creme fraiche to make a "sauce" might be better. I will make some changes to it next time and keep you posted as its improves. Of course, if anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them so comment below if you think you know how it could be made even better. One day, when it is only me and BFF eating, I'll make a spinach and ricotta one which I already know will be really scrummy!
From a craft point of view, it has been a weekend not so much of doing as of considering. My Mum and I spent an awfully long time pouring over new magazines to get ideas and manhandling new christmas decorations, pointing out how we could make them and/or improve them. Consequently, the list of projects I want to be getting on with has just got longer (literally - my ideas book is overflowing!).
On a really positive note, during a very enjoyable shopping trip with a friend on Saturday, I  completed most of my Christmas shopping............That won't make me popular, so best sign off I think!
Love Natalie

Thursday, 18 October 2012

It's been a busy week this week with barely any time for baking or stitching! I've had my own version of heaven and hell - heaven in the shape of a horse riding lesson and hell in the shape a date mix up for Scout Camp, leading to all manner of rearranged plans. The plans are now all in place so.....lets talk about the riding! I was given a very special present by a very special friend so spent Wednesday morning at a very posh dressage centre having my first riding lesson in fifteen years. My thighs are certainly paying the price for it today! It was the most fun I've had in ages, despite the fact that I'd forgotten just how exhausting it can be. I'm still smiling. It was fabulous. I'll be going on about it for weeks.....
The heaven and hell reference above gives me a nice link into offering congratulations to John Whaite who was crowned champion on the Great British Bake Off - a well deserved winner in my book. What he lacked in confidence he made up for in technique and general all round                   nice-person-ness. I'd also like to congratulate him on achieving a first in his Law Degree which is also no mean feat, I can tell you!
And finally, the picture above is of the cushion I finished on Monday using the sewing machine and those beautiful Tilda patches I received last week. I can see a couple of imperfections that need to be worked on but overall I'm really please with it. I intend to make at least one more with the same fabrics - with any luck I'll have some time this weekend to do some preparation.
Phew! That seemed to be a lot to catch up on. Due to Scout Camp this weekend (and Party Planning, but that's another story) I'll not be back till Monday. Happy weekend!
Love Natalie

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

A bit of a telly blog today.......
Firstly, the final of Great British Bake Off is on this evening and we are all really excited! The children have really enjoyed watching this and we have had many discussions about the fact that they want to cook and eat lots of the dishes featured, but would need to try different foods in order to do so. I hope as they get older they appreciate trying new foods as much as I do. I have tried the "involve them in the cooking" method but it has had no effect. Mr Jones is as bad as they are so what hope is there!
My other telly recommendation is/will be the new Kirstie Allsopp programme which starts soon, featuring all things vintage. I LOVE Kirstie in all her guises and I can't deny that her crafty exploits in the last couple of years, with her Christmas programmes and then last years craft fair series, have really inspired me in recent times. I actually love her a little bit I think. Actually, I know I do! On the press release I was reading last night it didn't give a start date for the series but I have added the accompanying book to my Christmas list anyway.
I'm off to bag my place on the sofa.....
Love Natalie

Monday, 15 October 2012

So here it is - the "new" sewing machine that I've been playing with at the weekend. It has been dusted down, and out, and used to do some patchwork. Unfortunately, all has not gone entirely to plan with my new toy: firstly, it only does straight stitch, and for a project I'm working on at the moment I at least need the option of some zig-zag work; secondly,it has very poor tension on the lower thread. I have re-wound the bobbin, altered the tension screw, re-threaded the top thread, everything that you can think of. I even took it for a session at an IfyouhaveaproblemIcansolveit clinic held by my mother yesterday morning, to no avail. Such a shame - it is a lovely machine and it would have been wonderful to have resurrected it from a lonely life in the loft but it is not meant to be. Fortunately, I've been able to borrow mums machine in the short term to complete the cushion I've been making. My wish list has just got itself a new addition I think! If anyone has any recommendations in regard to new sewing machines (I'll be looking for one that doesn't break the bank) then I'd love to here them. I will post a photo of the new cushion design soon.
Love Natalie

Friday, 12 October 2012

Thank goodness it's Friday!
Birthday celebrations since last weekend seem to have made this week a long one. I received a gift myself in the form of these beautiful Christmas fabrics. Now all I have to do is decide what to make with them! I'm torn between a cushion with a Christmas theme (obviously!) or some decorations for the tree. Anyone got any ideas? I'm not a great fan of bunting if I'm honest but I was thinking maybe little stars or trees, maybe with some sequins and bells for added glitz, to hang around the house throughout December. I will let you know what I finally decide.
This weekend (after the final instalment of George's birthday) I intend to spend some time with my new sewing machine (I lead an exciting life). It's about 50 years old, so new to me but it actually belonged to my mother-in-law. My husband found the instructions on-line so they've been downloaded and I'll soon be ready to go. I'm going to start by sewing some patches together to use to decorate a cushion but the possibilities are endless. I know there are "get to know your knitting machine" courses available these days so perhaps I should sign up to one. Something to think about...
Happy weekend everyone!
Love Natalie

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Because Christmas is approaching, I am doing even more crafting than normal, making cushions, scarves, wrist warmers and present labels. But I also seem to do lots of "craft" in normal life from everyday cooking (the majority of which is from scratch) to sewing Cubs and Beavers labels onto uniforms. Lots of people think they are not really keen on homemade crafts whilst doing quite a lot everyday. According to recent research (, 7 out of 10 people don't know how to sew on a button - this seems incredible really (and makes me wonder what they teach in textiles theses days) but maybe we all need to take a bit of responsibility for this having happened, since fewer and fewer people care about passing on such basic skills. With 3 sons, I'm unlikely to be able to pass on any sewing or knitting skills (although they have all had a go at knitting at one time or another) but I'm keen to help others with daughters to teach them these skills. There are some fantastic knitting kits available at the moment which include all you need to make hats, scarves or gloves. Toft Alpaca have some lovely sets and their wool is beautifully soft. Perhaps we should all buy these kits as gifts for the girls (and boys?) this Christmas? Let me know what you think!
Love Natalie

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

I made these gorgeous wrist warmers last week in my attempt to get ready for the cold weather. They are made with a beautiful chunky wool that I bought at the Great British Craft Fair in the summer. Luckily, I have enough to make a few more pairs as I think I will be asked to make quite a few more and I'd like some for myself! They are unspeakably easy to make if you have nothing but the most basic knitting skills. Comment below if you would like the pattern and I'll put it on the blog tomorrow. I'd love to see photos of other people's versions! Happy knitting.
Love Natalie

Monday, 8 October 2012

Don't turn away - this is still a craft blog! This picture is of a CAKE! An edible football. It is George's birthday this week and as usual, Auntie Sarah has excelled herself and created a football cake. Cake decorating is a craft skill that eludes me - I won't pretend it's something I practise often, it all seems too fiddly to me. But I need not worry as my sister-in-law has never disappointed in her creations, despite being asked to make all sorts of cakes from Teepee's to Tardis's. A red velvet cake accompanied the football but was eaten before I had time to take a photo!
I have managed to squeeze in some crafting this weekend, mostly preparation for pieces to work on in front of the telly during the week. I will reveal all as items are completed.
Love Natalie

Friday, 5 October 2012

Meet Mickleham Bear. He was made by my husbands late grandmother when she was in a nursing home back in the early eighties. After a couple of decades in the loft, he was discovered by my youngest son nearly a year ago and has been much adored (again) since. However, he was in quite a sorry state when we found him so some homemade repairs were called for. Initially, I just knitted him the jumper and scarf to hold all of his body parts together, but late night cuddles have taken their toll and I was awoken by a distressed 7 year old at the weekend holding all of Mickleham's internal organs in his hand! I have now replaced his main body piece with new felt and squeezed the stuffing back in so all is well. It's lovely that such an old toy is still bringing so much pleasure (although I can't help but think of Trigger from Only Fools and Horse's who had the same broom for his entire road sweeping career - he only replaced the handle and the head a few dozen times.....). I was asked by a friend to repair her sons Golly Teddy this week because he quite literally needed a facelift, so that's 2 boys who are sleeping soundly in their beds again. It's wonderful to be able to fix and repair rather than dispose and replace things - that can't be a bad lesson to teach the children.
That's getting a bit deep for me, I best be off!
Love Natalie

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Look at all this beautiful material I received yesterday as my free gift for subscribing to Simply Homemade magazine (published by Practical Publishing). It's a "Christmas Kit" by Tilda - Surf Green buttons and ribbons, an array of gorgeous patches and a copy of Tilda's Winter Ideas. There are some fantastic templates at the back of this book that could be used for lots of other times of year too! I can't wait to get started on some ideas I have brewing with such beautiful materials.
For the record, I have been "blogging" in between walking the dog and doing the school run, so at about 2.45pm each day, despite the time suggested on the blogsite! I will have to work out how to reset something.
Love Natalie

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Like every good Mum with a few dodgy bananas to hand, I made this lovely Banana and Chocolate Chip cake last night. I was determined to get it right this time - I made one last week that didn't go down very well. But lasts nights efforts were a great success. The recipe is all thanks to , a fantastic site that deserves lots of credit for some of the cooking that I have done of late. Comment below if you would like the recipe. As soon as I make them again, I will also feature their Cake in a Cup recipe which was delicious.
As a total aside, could I just draw your attention to squirrels? Not only are they EVERYWHERE at the moment but I think they may be trying to tell us something. My children are going hunting for conkers after school because the squirrels in our garden have pinched the lot! Are we in for a really bad winter? Is squirrel Armageddon looming? Something's not right, that's for sure. And they are tormenting the dogs to boot!
Time for coffee and banana cake - whilst watching the pesky squirrels through the window.....
love Natalie

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Is it too early for Snowman decorations?

I was really motivated to start this blog when I listed all the items I want/need to make for
Christmas - things to give as gifts, for others to give as gifts and maybe even something for myself! I am in the process of finishing off some Christmas lavender bags, I have 1 cushion order and a few people usually get wrist warmers from me. And then there are all the lovely scarf yarns available at the moment - I already have a beautiful purple Scarf on a Ball waiting to be knitted and lots of white "Pom-Pom" wool similar to the large bobble scarves I've made over the last couple of years (I think the proper name is Can-Can wool). If you have basic knitting skills then you can certainly knit one of these for yourself or as a gift - email me if you would like some tips on which yarns to get.
I will post pictures of everything I'm making - if you would like tips on how to make your own or would like me to make anything for you (either something shown on this site or on another) then get in touch.

All this talk of Christmas! I'm off for a coffee and a mince pie.

Love Natalie

Monday, 1 October 2012

Welcome to Love Natalie...! I've been inspired to start this blog because I have rediscovered a love of homecraft that I'd like to share with others - most homecrafts involving basic skills that everyone has! In the way that friends and family have given me fabulous ideas to work on, I'd like to share these ideas with you.
I hope to keep you up-to-date with my own projects and keep you posted on what other bloggers and crafters are up to as well.
Let me know what you think - I can't wait to hear from you!
Love Natalie...