Friday, 16 December 2011


This week has been a mish-mash of tasks. While still frantically sewing for Christmas (no worries, I still have another week, right?), actually playing with my children, keeping on top of the laundry, feeding my family and generally keeping everything ticking over, I also offered to make cakes for my son’s Year 1 Christmas party. After realising that I was genuinely offering to make enough cakes for 75 children they said “yes”. So here they are (a small selection)!
It seems the Reception Year staff were a bit disappointed I couldn’t make another 75 for them, having tried them last year when Matthew was still in Reception.

Back to the sewing machine now! Oh, and vacuuming, and laundry, and I think the girls are hungry again….

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Sew busy!

Still sewing like crazy. So much so that at one point I emptied my pin cushion which inspired a small moment of pin art.
Well, it’s not like I can show you what I am actually making.

Friday, 2 December 2011


Gotta love a bad pun!
Having been following various other blogs recently I was inspired to create my own advent calendar for the children. I started with the large collection of small boxes I acquired after my sister-in-law’s wedding (they were favour boxes at the reception). Having been hoarding them for over 3 years now I was glad to find a use for them.
Add some string (to hold them closed properly), a nearly empty can of silver spray, and lots of bling we achieved something approaching what I intended (the children like it anyway) and I filled it with mini pyramid bags with jelly beans inside.


In the post

Following on from my previous post I have actually made something I am allowed to blog about. Unfortunately I was so eager to get it in the post in time (birthday present) I forgot to photograph it.
However, if you can use your imagination it looked like this:
Prudent Mama FatQuarter Apron

but in this fabric:


and trimmed with giant yellow ric-rac.

And because I can (and because I had a small remnant left over) it was dispatched in a matching drawstring bag. (I remember reading somewhere that drawstring bags were addictive, and it turns out to be true!)

Thursday, 24 November 2011

No spoilers please!!

I am beginning to find this pre-Christmas blogging a little tricky. I have been working hard (if intermittently) on various projects for the last couple of weeks and, with the exception of a new beanbag lining for one of our very old beanbags, they are secret!Party Girls
So it is probably a little dull (if not downright frustrating) to be told that I have made a pair of lovely ***** for *****, and in a similar vein a really funky **** for both **** and ****.

Party Matthew

In the new year I may offer a small Christmas catch-up with photos if my photographer obliges; we’ll have to see. As a sop, here are a couple of photos of small children (mine) wearing their Cathy Birthday finery (mostly not made by me).

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Too hot to handle

In amongst all that bean bag making and birthday caking we had a few other birthday presents to give out; two in particular featuring more items handmade byGaenor (or me).
They were actually both pot holders, but were probably as different as two insulated fabric squares could be…
2011_09_25_08_04_42Article 1: Floral pot holder for my mother-in-law, made of vintage floral fabric with blue gingham trim, quilted in a geometric pattern.
Article 2: A more masculine pot holder for WP_000285my step-dad to use with his new toasting fork. A bit quilted, but mostly so it all stayed together.
Mum wants them now (mainly because of the fabrics).
Inspiration for both of these came from this site, but don’t look too closely – they have lots of interesting ideas which I plan to adapt, perhaps for you!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Finished, with 20 minutes on the clock

WP_000270This afternoon my little boy went out to play with friends (for possibly the first time), and was going to need his car booster seat in order to get home. Given how cumbersome they are he obviously needed a custom bag to carry it on the bus, and with 6 hours before he left, why not? (yeah, I know, I’m insane).

WP_000278However after about an hour of thinking (and more thinking, and a bit of internet poking, realising that officially I possessed none of the recommended items for making a bag, and just a bit more thinking) I got the scissors out and started cutting out rectangles from an old cushion cover.

WP_000273If I made it again it would probably be constructed in a completely different order, and with some more conventional bits and bobs rather than random items from my shelves, but when Matthew left at 4:30 he had a recognisable bag which wasn’t spilling its contents all over the floor and actually stayed on. So a good job in that respect, I just need to see how all that stick on velcro has worked (didn’t have any sew on velcro to hand) or whether it will have all peeled off by the time he gets home.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Just a taster

We have just spent the weekend in Newquay celebrating my sister’s 40th birthday. Which is why I spent a large chunk of last week baking; 1 large (12”) raspberry jam sponge with white chocolate butter cream icing and 108 chocolate buns topped with either our classic chocolate fudge icing or peppermint buttercream. And rock.
Hopefully there will be more photos to follow, so you too can share in the cake extravaganza and enjoy the rainbow creations some of the girls and boys were wearing.
In the meantime enjoy this peppermint cake – I’m not sure I want to see one again for a little while…

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Sunbathing in October…

Well, yes, Bournemouth has been full of sun-seeking tourists this month, but I mean Matthew’s deckchair inspired beanbag.

It is nearly 1 metre across and has been met with great favour by all who have sat on it. Even my husband, who does not like sitting on the floor, is enjoying bedtime stories as the two of them sit on it together while enjoying Mr Galliano’s Circus.

Now I really have to knuckle down and make some of the trimmings for the upcoming grand birthday party. The girls are all having tutus (made by my super talented mum) but I need to make a co-ordinated button-hole flower type thing for the boy. Off to trawl the internet for instructions.

Friday, 30 September 2011


It was pointed out to me recently that I tend to knock up items, or throw them together. By contrast this week I am carefully, lovingly and with due care and attention, making a bean bag. Not least because I am having to scale up the pattern instructions in order to do so.

It is based on the bean bag in Cath Kidston's "Sew!",Bean Bag crop but that is designed for toddlers. Which my boy isn't. By quite a few inches. So I have been re-acquainting myself with π and circles. A few calculations later and I have a scaled up set of dimensions to cut out of half a duvet and a remnant, while making sure that the stripes all head in the same direction. Fortunately I got to do a dummy run on plain fabric as it needs an inner to actually hold the beans. So far so good.

Watch this space for photos of the finished article – hopefully within the next week! If it takes any longer it may have to be abandoned in favour of my great cake baking marathon (also known as Cathy’s Birthday – more on that after the event!).

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Bake me a robot

Birthday GirlThe birthdays have begun, starting with my eldest daughter. She had a lovely day, with bunting and balloons at breakfast, along with a very pink dolls house. Then after church we visited Nana and had more presents, a quick swim and then dinner and cake.
Quote of the day: “I really like my birthday”.
Now, little girls like pink, this I know. But this little girl also wanted a robot. So here is the pink robot cake she requested for her 3rd birthday.

Pink Robot CakeThe silver sugar spray was a bit of an experiment, but apart from using the wrong paper for the stencil (so it didn’t sit flat on the cake) it worked pretty well. Cue more silver cakes. Not to mention more white chocolate icing with raspberry jam cakes.

Friday, 16 September 2011


I did it! I really did! I am now the proud owner of a Folksy shop. For those of you who haven’t come across Folksy, or had your ear bent by me recently, this is an online market place for craft sellers. I can now be found selling at
folksy screen shot

My first item for sale is a remake of my first apron in a pretty vintage floral fabric. As with all the other aprons I have made for the children this uses my adjustable cross-over straps which means that while they are small we don’t have to tie knots or perform contortions every time we fix them on and as they get taller (and their heads get bigger) their aprons will still fit (yes, even over heads and ears!).
It is a very little shop at the moment, but I plan to add to it amidst all the sewing I have planned for family over the next few months. Watch this (or that) space.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Busy, busy, busy

But I can’t tell you about it.
Partly because we are in birthday season, so I don’t want to include any spoilers (and in our family birthday season segues quite quickly into Christmas…)
Also I have a special project in hand, and I don’t want to tell you about that until I have everything in place. Watch here for the big announcement – hopefully before next week.
In the meantime enjoy this bonus photo of my daughter modelling her cousin’s birthday apron.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

New Arrival!

2011_09_05_07_44_38My new baby niece has arrived, and she needs a present. Frankly it was supposed to be ready before she was born, but the postman thought otherwise. However once all the ingredients arrived I created this mobile.
2011_09_05_07_45_12I had done a quick internet search on mobiles and the ones I liked best were very simple and colourful. So with the help of Crafty Ribbons and a florist’s wreath frame I spent a very enjoyable evening sorting out and tying on all these ribbons. Hopefully my brother and his family will enjoy it as much as my children did in the few days it was hanging around the house prior to posting.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

And another phone case

I eventually dropped my mobile phone just 37 times too many, so I sat down one evening and threw a case together for it (while my husband took the photos for the previous post).

2011_08_24_21_49_03It is a lot simpler than the previous two, but has the advantage of being lined with lens-friendly fabric from an old sunglasses pouch, which means the screen cleans itself every time I put it away. The button turned out to be completely off-centre, so I have since moved it and I have also remembered where I put the elastic cord so will be replacing the fastening loop with that really soon.

Apparently the other phone case just wouldn’t get out of the way, so had to be included in the photo too.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Trouser Art


So I finally got bored with just patching trousers. With some of the buttons I have just bought (for an entirely different project) I customised this pair of slightly broken jeans with a robot (in case you couldn’t tell). Much to the delight of the children.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Painting and Decorating

By which I actually mean demolishing and rebuilding. Despite the children going on holiday without us, this last week hasn’t been spent in a flurry of creativity, but instead has been sheer hard slog.

While the children were away seemed a good time to decorate my son’s bedroom which was sporting a decrepit lilac carpet and pink woodchip walls.
We knew one of the walls was going to be a challenge (I accidentally poked a hole in it months ago) but it pretty much matched our worst fears.  So we stripped it back to nothing (which seemed to take forever) and then panelled it!

Bad Plaster Panelled Wall

And then we patched other bits of wall with plaster. Filled holes. Painted. Collected the children. Painted again. Painted another colour. And Again. And then did it all again. Painted some skirting board (badly). Smudged some paint and then laid a new laminate floor.

Finally we got to put a new bed in and some other furniture and called it finished. I am very happy with the end result – and so is my little boy!
Finished Room

Saturday, 20 August 2011

A Retrospective (III) – Patches

As the owner of any small boy will know holes in trousers are a given. So patches soon became part of my life. Not having any denim to match the trousers I went for the total contrast look (bright red). When I needed to patch a pair of his Daisy Patchold trousers for my daughter to wear I went a step further!  (I love bias binding!). She liked them so much her first reaction was to kiss the trousers. And equally gratifying was the fact that my MIL didn’t even realise it was a patch.

I did a similar thing in order to mend my younger sister’s favourite trousers and now my other sister has requested some for her jeans - even though she doesn’t have holes!

Friday, 19 August 2011

A Retrospective (II) – Phone Cases

Phone Case1Now that I can make anything (!) it occurred to me that what my sister needed was a case for her new phone. So I knocked this up  for her birthday.
Phone Case2My husband liked it so much that he requested one for his phone. So last week I threw this together.
Very satisfying.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

A Retrospective (I) - Aprons

5672342624_c8becb66ca_mI have been cross-stitching from kits on and off for years, but it feels like my sewing journey really started off again this spring. I was browsing in the charity shop with my daughters in tow when I found a yellow gingham pillow case. My 2 year old then exclaimed “oh, just what I have been looking for. It is just my colour!” (huh?), So for 25p we took it home and then I had to work out how to make an apron from it. Much internet research later I had picked up enough hints and tips to create a totally length adjustable, pretty little apron. Then I made another one for my niece; now I just need to make one for daughter No.2.
ApronsThen my 5 year old son wanted a new apron too, so I went back to one of the blogs I had seen – Mama Byrd -  and used that as the basis for  his (two) aprons – well, one always seems to be in the wash.
Peg BagWhile I had been doing all this apron research I came across a tutorial for a utility apron which looked ideal for a new peg bag (mine was nearly 20 years old and disintegrating) and created this.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Hello World

Erm.... hello?

Not entirely sure why I am here, but mostly because this way I have somewhere to blather on about all the things I am currently doing/being excited about without anyone actually having to listen. Of course, that implies I have lots of things that I am doing in order to blog about them - mostly I just have a long list of things I want to do, and an even longer list of other people's blogs to read while I procrastinate! (or "do research" as I like to call it).

Now I just need to actually tell people (like my family) that I have a blog so they can avoid me online as well as by phone.