Thursday 31 December 2009

Here's to a good one...

It's meant to say "2010 Happy New Year" but the bread rose more than I expected!

But you get the idea...
Wishing everyone Health and Happiness for 2010.

Tuesday 29 December 2009


Tired of feeling cold we took ourselves out last night to see this...

Not a film for the purists but a couple of hours of wonderful escapism far away from washing machines and boilers!
  • A totally implausible plot...
  • A mixture of satire, comedy and thriller...
  • A dynamic new Holmes portrayed as never before...
  • Fabulous sets of Victorian London...
  • Even a touch of romance...

I thought it was impossible not to be totally swept away... fabulous!

and Sherlock Holmes has never been so sexy!

Monday 28 December 2009

You win some... you lose some!

I hope you've all had a wonderful Christmas. Ours was good... both busy at times with lots of family and friends and quiet at others with just two of us but I'm not sorry it's over. I enjoy all the build up and the actual festivities but feel a huge anti climax once it's all over and can't wait to get back to normal... although I fear "normal" could be quite a while.

We have a date for the washing machine repair... 7th January! Various bags of laundry have been farmed out to friends and relatives over the weekend and I did a huge load of handwashing on Christmas day. After three weeks without a washing machine I'll be glad to get it repaired. Meanwhile our boiler is still struggling on although leaking more and more water. The floor is covered in towels which we are wringing out every half hour. It doesn't leak quite so much when the heating is off so we are trying to get by without heat... but it's cold! Date for someone to come and give us a quote for a new boiler... 14th January!!! We did a bit of ringing round and have now found someone else who is coming tomorrow.

Enough moaning... as promised the giveaway for the book ...

All names were put into a Christmas dish...

... and the winner was picked... Dragonfly! If you email me your address Tracy I'll send a parcel your way.

Now I'm going to wrap up in a blanket, keep warm and enjoy some of my Christmas presents!

Wednesday 23 December 2009

Happy Christmas!

I'm not going to stress that the repair man came today and couldn't fix my washing machine ( parts are to be ordered) because the heating is still going... and

The Christmas tree is up and decorated...

The cake is made and iced...

Several knitted presents are completed.
A Fan Neckwarmer in Rowan silk wool...

in gorgeous Noro Kureyon

A rather silly ski hat
that no one would model for me!

And... oh dear...
perhaps not everything was finished!

But I'm as ready as I'll ever be. Tomorrow I'm cooking Christmas lunch for twelve. Then they are all going off to various other places and Stewart and I are having a blissfully quiet Christmas to ourselves before they all return on Boxing Day.

All that remains is for me to wish all my blogging friends a very happy and blissful Christmas of your own.

Tuesday 22 December 2009


Thank you kind and lovely blogging friends for all you good wishes. My eye is much better with the help of some drops (which now it feels better I keep forgetting to put in!)

The man coming to fix the washing machine this morning cancelled... apparently the bearings have gone (it is all of 18 months old) so it is not worth him repairing it. I have a different man coming to look at the washing machine tomorrow... of course I had to sign away my life in the form of monthy direct debits before Hotpoint would come out... fingers crossed he will fix it as I've about ten loads waiting to go in. I don't relish the thought of hand washing that lot!

But I've been keeping busy with a bit of mass production in the mince pie making department.

I'm hoping that five dozen will be enough to keep my lot going over the holidays because I'm not making any more! (I've hidden some just in case)

Meanwhile our boiler has sprung a leak. I called this morning and was delighted to have a man turn up an hour later. However the news is not good... yes, it is leaking (I worked out that much), there is nothing that can be done, he hopes it keeps going for a few more days but he'll put us on the list for a new boiler, no idea when that might be... busy time you know! His parting words... I hope you have a warm Christmas.
But I'm still smiling... don't forget that giveaway... leave a comment on this post.

Monday 21 December 2009

Brace yourself...

This is about to be a very long post. As promised... a tutorial for the little book. And if you manage to hang on to the very end... a giveaway too! I should say that I first came across these books on Little Paper Bird and have since found the instructions in "The Penland Book of Handmade Books" so I cannot claim credit for the design.

You will need the following:
  • 14 sheets of postcard sized paper for your pages
  • A roll of decorative paper - the owl paper came from Paperchase.
  • Stiff board for the covers
  • ribbon for ties
  • PVA glue
  • brush, ruler and knife or scissors.
To start you need to measure your postcard pages - the height is the important measurement. Mine is 10cm high. You will then need to cut a long strip of your decorative paper that is eight times the height of your pages by twice the height plus about a cm. This makes my strip of paper 80 cm x 21 cm. Accuracy in cutting and folding is the most important part of making these books.

You then need to fold your long strip of paper into 16 equal size concertina folds. I find the easiest way is to fold it in half and then in half again etc. If you try to start at one end and work along the strip it is very easy to get the folds out of alignment.

Mine folds up into rectangles that measure 5 cm x 21 cm

Next you have to fold the corners of each of the rectangular concertina folds by lining up the corners with the centre crease.

You have to do this top and bottom all the way along the strip.

Until you end up with something that looks like this.

Now open out all the little triangular folds and fold them back in the opposite direction so they move easily in both directions. Open them out again and this time reverse fold the triangles - sort of tuck them in the other way. This is much easier to do than explain but the photo should help.

Once all the little triangles are tucked in, the large triangles that are formed are folded back down into the centre crease. Do this top and bottom

Keep turning over each concertina fold and folding these big triangles to the centre until they are all folded in.

And this is the centre of your book finished.

This is what the reverse should look like.

To make the covers, cut two pieces of stiff board to be slightly bigger all round than your finished book. Insert one of your postcard pages into the folds to find out how big it will need to be.

Cut two pieces of your decorative paper about 5 cm wider and higher than your cover boards. Brush the cover sparingly with PVA glue (always apply glue to the thicker surface where possible) and glue the cover paper to the board.

Mitre in the corners and glue in the edges.

Now you need to attach the ribbon ties. Cut two pieces of ribbon about 20 cm long and glue to the centre of each board as shown. Make sure you glue them to opposite sides.

Almost there.... Cut two more pieces of decorative paper slightly smaller than your cover boards and glue to the inside of the covers.

Now take your folded piece of paper. Slip a piece of scrap paper under the first fold to protect the rest of the folds and brush glue over the first fold as shown.

Stick this down onto one of the covers - at the opposite end to the ribbon tie!

Brush glue onto the folded paper on the other side (remember to protect the other folds) and stick down onto the second cover.

Leave to dry and then insert your blank postcard pages into the folds.

And voila... you have a book! If that all sounds far too garbled and complicated and you really can't be bothered with all that then fear not...

For I am going to give this one away! Despite the snow keeping me in all weekend when I've not finished my shopping... a minor disaster with some indigo dye (a story for another time)... the fact that my washing machine has broken and there seems little chance of it being fixed this week... and a recurring eye infection which has returned to plague me... I'm feeling festive and generous because I got my marks back for my latest module which far exceeded my expectations... and so I'm feeling very happy!
Just leave me a comment between now and Christmas day, all names will be put into a suitable Christmas container and I'll get one of my drunken revellers to pick out a winner!

Thursday 17 December 2009

Ta very much!

I'm long overdue some thank yous. A while ago Trashy organised a Rainbow swap and I was the lucky recipient of this collection of rainbow parcels from Laurie.

Inside were fabulous pressies... all rainbow inspired, including some gold at the end of the rainbow which has long since been gobbled up!

Don't you just love this mini quilt... an alternative take on The Princess and the Pea. I hope the princess isn't squashed under the mattresses! Thank you Laurie!

Another thank you must go to Penny who awarded me this Kreative Blogger award... simply ages ago! Rules are to list seven interesting facts about myself and then pass the award on to seven more bloggers.

I've dithered and dallied... and dithered some more and I can't think of seven new things about me. I have done this twice before for different awards and I thought I might link back to those posts but can't find them... quick edit... found this and some on this post! But I won't pass it on because I think all the blogs I read are creative so couldn't possibly choose only seven. But thank you Penny... I did appreciate receiving this.

And as a Christmas thank you for everyone I thought I might do a tutorial soon... on the little book that I posted about... and maybe even a giveaway... watch this space!

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Pooch pressies

Much as I love my pooch...
I don't consider myself a sentimental dog owner.
I don't do doggy Christmas or birthday presents.

But I couldn't resist buying one of these for the Christmas tree.

How long before he sniffs it out?

Sunday 13 December 2009

Talented friends

Thank you for all your lovely kind comments on my last post... results should be back by the end of the week so fingers crossed! Today we went to the 40th birthday party of a dear friend who happens to be a very talented artist.

Which was an opportunity to forget all about stitching and indulge in a little cutting, folding and glueing, resulting in a little book as a gift.

A book made with folded pages that contain additional removable pages.

In this case, postcard sized watercolour pages for filling with sketches and drawings.

Do take a look at John's website and see some of his amazing paintings and drawings. I should add he is one of the nicest smiliest people I know so I'm not sure why he looks so stern in his photo on the site!

At the party was another friend who also happens to be a very talented textile artist. She was very excited to tell me she has just started blogging.

So please go and visit Sandra... leave her a comment... and tell her Gina sent you!