Sunday, 29 January 2017

January Round Up

I can't believe January is almost at an end, it's taken a while for us to get back into the swing of things and just as I was getting used to the routine it's all change again as Miss Madaboutbags has now gone back to university after being home on school placement for a month. It has been a fun but exhausting time for her with lesson planning, homework to mark and assessments. I was able to help out a little with lesson props and we put my Cricut cutting machine to good use and saved our hands from all that cutting out. I think that a machine of her own will come in very handy when she qualifies and the list of 'things she needs' is getting longer. These include a laminator, cutter, staple guns, lots of pens and so much more. If any of you lovely teachers out there can think of things that she might need or that I could make for her then please let me know. 
Giant Master Madaboutbags is also keeping me busy with talk of university visits and car driving, I'm not going to call them lessons, he has those with his instructor and as I have probably forgotten more than I know about driving and I don't want to pass on any of my bad habits so we shall call it driving practice instead. As for the university visits, it only seems like yesterday that we were doing the same thing with Miss Madaboutbags but this time we are venturing slightly further afield with Cardiff our first stop. 
January has been a quiet month for Mini Master Madaboutbags neither of us are really enjoying the dark cold mornings or the fact that by the time we get home in the evening it too dark for anything else but food, TV, homework and a bit of Minecraft. Although since becoming a cat family there is always time for kitty cat cuddles. Our new addition to the family has settled in really well, she was very skinny when she arrived but in the two weeks since she has been here she has put on weight but we do think she had been without enough food for a while as she likes to hang around the kitchen whilst I'm cooking dinner, luckily she hasn't pinched any food yet. 
We are finding having a cat very different from the dogs we are used to, as much as she enjoys cuddles and fuss she is more aloof than a dog and will happily ignore you if she isn't in the mood for company, because of this she is the cat with the every changing name with each of us calling her something different, hopefully she/we can decide on a permanent name soon, although I'm not convinced it will make much difference to her. 

I'm making headway with my #organisedsewingspace (organised by Steph) the first area to tidy was your sewing table, which had become a bit of a dumping ground for unfinished projects,
it's now all nice and tidy and I'm happy to report it has stayed that way too.
The second area to tidy was your cutting table
and ironing space.
This is a work in progress as there was a lot of stuff dumped on my cutting table, but new homes have been found for lots of things and I've hung up my swap gifts and made use of pieces that were no longer needed indoors, as well as making some fabric covered cork notice boards from some ikea round cork boards.
 I finally finished my #tobminiquiltswap, the idea was to make a mini quilt in any shape other than a square or rectangle, I chose to make a coffin shape for my swap partner and I'm really pleased with how it turned out, even the quilting worked out after a false start. 
I've also been working on a sewing challenge set by another crafter on Instagram, a NES controller table topper. I had to look up what a NES controller was and after chatting to Bionca about colours I set about creating the topper. These type of makes just seem to evolve, I start off with an idea and it grows from there, knowing when to stop can be a problem though. I'm on the home strait now with just the binding to add. 
I'm sure lots of you are well on your way with your send a little love swap makes and I can't wait to see what you all send to each other. I'm still brainstorming over some ideas for my partner and will finalise my makes this week. 
I'm not a great lover of the cold weather and I definitely go into hibernation mode during the winter months so there hasn't been much activity happening outside as I'm happy to stay cosy and warm indoors drinking tea and keeping the cat company. Although last week I did go for a long dog walk with a friend and we are hoping to making this a weekly event. I have also found a Pilates class to go to, I was doing Yoga last year but the class ended and I couldn't find another one that suited me but after a chat in the playground and a try out last Friday I'm looking forward to starting My Pilates journey. 
January has also been the month of gadgets, I used the crock pot for the first time and was really pleased with how our regular lamb curry recipe turned out and I'm looking forward to trying out some other recipes in the coming months, and I would appreciate any recommendations. 
My boys bought me an egg boiler for Christmas, don't laugh, it was sort of a joke present, 
but I'm also aware that there are only so many over cooked eggs that can't be dunked and undercooked eggs that have to be finished in the microwave (and yes they do explode if you ping them to long!) that one small boy can eat. This gadget really does work, no more guess work, just measure out the water, prick a hole in the eggs (handy spike on the bottom of the measuring cup) and add the water and the eggs to the eggboiler and wait. Perfect eggs every time. 
I also treated myself to a soup maker in the sales and have been making some delicious soups like carrot and coriander and vegetable, although today's leek and potato didn't go down well, it was a bit bland and watery. So I think I still need a bit more practice.

Phew! What a long post that was, if you managed to reach the bottom, thank you!
I'm looking forward to seeing what February brings my way, do you have any plans for the month of love?

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Send Us your Christmas Swap - Part 2

I'm still playing catch up on my posts, I don't know about you but these dark, cold nights are just making me want to hibernate, I've even being going to bed early, 10pm which is early for me! Which means by the time Master Madaboutbags is in bed all i want to do is relax on the sofa and before I know it, it's bedtime.
I'm not sewing today as after spending the morning doing household jobs there just isn't enough time to get stuck into anything before we head out into this sunny but chilly afternoon to watch Master Madaboutbags play rugby. There is enough time though to catch up on answering emails, blogging and the such.
So over Christmas I shared with you here what Jackie sent me in the Send Us Your Christmas Swap organised by Kimberley over at Creative Chaos, and this is the parcel I put together for Jackie, it would seem in my eagerness to get her parcel out (I was running late as usual) I didn't take that many photos but here is a little collage. If I remember rightly I think I added so wool too, I do remember it was a bit of a tight squeeze to get everything in the box.

I was given the Tui bird fabric in another swap and thought it would be good to use it in a swap that was heading back to New Zealand. Jackie is a keen knitter so the knitting themed brooch was an ideal gift, and as Jackie is recuperating after an operation I thought maybe a cross stitch kit might keep her busy. 
This was a great swap, thank you to Jackie for being a fabulous swap partner and thank you to Kimberley for organising. 

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Santa Sack Swap 2016 - Part 2

So I have shared with you all the wonderful gifts that I received from Mary in the Santa Sack Swap and this post is all about what I made and sent to her in return. 
After reading Mary's blog about her love of nativity sets I wanted some of her gifts to have that theme. I found a lovely nativity themed fabric on eBay which then sat in my sewing room whilst I decided what I would I make. Part of the swap is to make either a sack, a stocking  or a bag. As Christmas is a busy time for Mary I thought a bag might be more useful so I made a nice roomy tote, which Mary has told me fits perfectly on her mobility scooter so she is going to use it all year round. For some reason I didn't a photo of the bag but you can see it in the last picture showing all the gifts I made Mary. I still had a little bit of the nativity fabric left over so I decided to make a cushion.

I added a little sparkle to the cushion with some stars sequins, 

and used red beads to pick out the berries. 

I really liked the words on this fabric and used a red embroidery hoop from my stash to make a hanging ornament. 

I tend to get a bit carried away with themes and this swap was no different, so continuing with the nativity theme I used my Cricut cutting machine to make this nativity vinyl decal and popped it on this glass jar. 

I added a ceramic star tag to bring a little Joy. 

The next part of the swap had me stumped for a while, I know Mary likes to craft from the comfort of her armchair so I decided to make an armchair caddy and a project bag,

but what colour to make and what fabric to use? After a little more stalking on Mary's blog I managed to find out that dusky pink might just be okay. 

 Here are all the gifts that I made for Mary

This is a super swap to take part in so if you fancy joining in this year pop over to Cheryll's Santa Sack Swap blog for more details. 

Santa Sack Swap 2016

I don't think I've quite mastered the getting more organsied thing yet which means I'm a bit behind with my blog posts, also being adopted by a cat has meant that my evenings have become kitty cuddle time and there isn't enough room on my lap for the cat and the iPad.
Tonight the cat has chosen the arm of the sofa instead of my lap so I'm able catch up on a little blogging time.
Towards the end of last year I took part in some super swaps, one of which was the Santa Sack Swap organised by Cheryll over at Gone Stitchin' in my cubbyhole and I was partnered with Mary from Trundling Through Life, Mary's blog was new to me and I really enjoyed getting to know her more through our emails and her blog. 

This is what Mary sent to me, a beautiful patchwork stocking in my favourite Christmas colours of red, green and gold.  

I hung the stocking crammed full of prettily wrapped parcels on the door to my orangery and it was really difficult not to have a little squidge every time I went past. 

I left opening my swap gifts until after lunch as I wanted to be able to take my time opening them, so whilst everyone else was relaxing in front of the TV, or playing on a gadget or two I sat myself down on the floor in the orangery and started unwrapping.

Mary made me a lovely Christmas card and there was a sugar mouse, which Rachel thought was a candle, I didn't tell her otherwise until after I had eaten it. 

In her emails Mary had told me about her trips to Brussells and the delicious chocolates made by Mary, chocolatiers to the Belgium royal family, so you can imagine how pleased I was when I saw my very own box of Mary chocolates. These were absolutely delicious and I was very good as I shared the chocolates coins with the children! 

My first package revealed this pretty hanging flower which will look fabulous in my sewing room.

Next there was this lovely scissors keeper, how cute is that button! 

Inside were the most perfect spotty scissors in my favourite turquoise blue. 

Last year I used a notebook to record all my makes during 2016 and I was looking for a notebook to do the same in 2017. Mary made me a covered notebook which means I can use it again and again.

Although I sew and have made several zippered pouches I never seem to get around to making myself one, so it's alway lovely to receive one as part of a swap. 
I love the yo-yo embellishments and the heart quilting.

Finally, the last package contained this gorgeous purple fluffy scarf, ideal for the colder days. I do love a scarf so I'm looking forward to wearing this one.

Here are all my gifts, together with my stocking.

Thank you Mary, I've really enjoyed getting to know you over the past few months and look forward to our continued friendship, and thank you Cheryll for organising, this is one of my favourite swaps of the year. 

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Swapper needed

Thank you Sue C 

please could you email me at 

Thank you 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Swapper needed

I knew I'd forget someone in the swap!

Sorry Glenda, so much for being more organised!!! 

Is there anyone who would like to join in with the Send A Little Love Swap and would be willing to post to New Zealand.

Glenda doesn't have a blog but has taken part in several of my swaps in the past. 

Please leave a comment below if you would like to help me out! 

Monday, 9 January 2017

Send A Little Love Swap Partners

Does anyone else seem to have a problem with comment notifications? It seems that when some of you comment I get an email notification but on others I don't. I've double checked my settings and tried googling but I haven't got very far so I do apologise if I haven't replied to your comment, but now I know there is a problem I will be checking each blog post to make sure I don't miss anything. 
Anyhow, I'm sorry I didn't post the swap partners yesterday, I'm still not back into a proper routine yet as Master Madaboutbags isn't back in school until tomorrow and with our new feline addition I've been a little busy enjoying kitty cuddles and I also needed to be on the main computer to add the links as it's much quicker. So here are the partners for the Send A Little Love Swap

Kimberley and Montse V (email)

Linny(email) and Maggie

Kimberley and Maggie I will email you shortly with the details of your swap partner. 
Here is a quick recap of the swap

The idea of this swap is to send 5 things to include :
Some sewing or yarny notions that have a love theme
Something heart shaped or themed
Something deliciously edible
Something handmade
Something red 
If I have missed anyone, or forgotten anything please let me know and any questions or problems just ask. 
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