Saturday, 31 December 2011

New Year

New Year is always about resolutions and things that we are going to do differently. I'm hoping that 2012 is going to be quite exciting for me, there's definitely change ahead. So to get me in the mood for the odd challenges that might be coming my way I've search for some inspiring quotes/pictures.

This one reminds me that you should always do a little reality check. No matter what happens we always have something to be thankful for.

But this one seemed best...... combining a great quote with a little bit of creativity. Hits the mark perfectly for me.

Happy New Year. May 2012 be happy, healthy and prosperous for us all.


Thursday, 29 December 2011

And in a flash it was over.

So where did Christmas go? 

We had a cracking time and that week off work beforehand really allowed us all to unwind and enjoy the run up to christmas. It made such a lovely difference. 

Christmas Eve was not mad running around but rather a little bit of crafting. The girls both made concertina books, they're dead easy and are the format that I use each year to make photo albums for the grandparents. (Another tradition that I started about 10 years ago)!

I helped Niamh with hers as she chose to do a patchwork style with fabrics and then we cut out one large flower to use as an accent. She was very pleased with herself and I think it might be going in to school on her first day back.

Meanwhile I finished off the purple doily cushion that I started back in November. I found a linen tablecloth in our antiques market which has proved just perfect for the back and it even had a lovely embroidered edging which meant, cut the right way, it didn't need any extra hems.

After that it was a lovely walk in the local woods to collect holly and foliage to decorate the Christmas day table.

And then all to quickly it's over!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Shoe Baby

There are many joys to being the mother of a child under five and, for me, one of those is picture books. There is nothing that I love more than a trip to the library to discover a book that we've not read before with stunning illustrations. Sometimes the story doesn't feel that important because the illustrations are so wonderful. Today, one of our favourite story books came to life for us. If you haven't read the Shoe Baby by Joyce and Polly Dunbar you must.

And when you've read the story you should see the Puppet Show. I first took Niamh a couple of years ago and it was stunning. Today we went again with a few of her friends and their mums from school. It was just as wonderful. I would thoroughly recommend it. Not only is the attention to detail fantastic but it is set to some music by one of the musicians from Gomez. To top all of that at the very end some of the puppets are brought out for the children to see up close and then an amazing giant shoe appears! The whole thing is a fabulous experience. Whilst I am on the subject of raving.... The Komedia in Brighton, where we saw todays production, is such a great venue for kids. They were all allowed to sit on little beanbags in front of the puppet theatre with the tall mums and dads on seats at the back. What I found really charming was that the refreshments were a cup of squash at 30p. When life can be so expensive it was great to see such a fantastically realistic approach to giving young children a lovely time.
It's been one of the highlights of the week so far but tomorrow we're off to London for the day and on Friday we are all going to see The Nutcracker so there is lots still to come.

It's funny though.... whenever I have time off from work looming I always think of a cup of tea and a little time to sit on the sofa to read a mag. Why does that never happen?

Maybe because I like having fun and being busy!

Gingerbread House 2011 is now made!

Clearly we were pro's now, this being our second construction, because it was an awful lot easier than I remembered it being last time. I think the trick is to trim the side into straight lines before the gingerbread cools too much. It makes getting the icing to bind an awful lot easier. Niamh and Cait had lots of fun with the sweets whilst I wrapped Mr B's presents.

And just to remind us it's Christmas here's our infamous Christmas Twig.... often one of my favourite of our decorations.

However this year I'm loving my festive cake stand even more. I do like red and white spots!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Christmas Shopping

Despite heading off to Newbury to celebrate the 40th birthday of a good friend this weekend I did manage to find some time to fit in a little Christmas shopping. Looking for inspiration I decided to avoid the main line shops and I headed for some antique/second hand shops for something original.

A few presents later, which obviously I can't talk about, I stumbled across a small selection of christmas decorations which were calling out for a new home.

These ones were such lovely colours and grabbed my attention due to the feathered glitter accents on them. I'm not sure how well they'll compliment the decorations on our big tree but there's always the 'Christmas Twig" to contemplate.

And I thought this collection of small glass balls might work really well with them.

These ones grabbed my attention due to the great mix of bright colours and the silky finish. I'm still contemplating where they might work but I know they will somewhere!

We popped out this morning and bought the tree, a big 7 foot one, and it's sitting outside the back doors waiting until we are all together tuesday to decorate. My only fear is how well behaved Caoimhe is going to be when she see's all the sparkly things! She's been growing at quite a rate and it won't be long before Cait or my lap just isn't big enough.

I have uploaded a couple more things on to my Etsy Store now (link on the right hand side bar) and have taken lots of photos to list more over the course of this week. Last week was mad with social and work commitments but it's calmer this week so hoping to get a bit more done.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Advent - the countdown

Great excitement in our house this morning when Niamh realised that it would be time to open the advent calendar. Simple design this year for Niamhy........ the trick will be for her to find the numbers that are all jumbled up

Different for Cait as hers are become more and more sophisticated!

She has been into origami recently and taught me a few things... so this year hers is based around origami boxes! We've rather busy bookshelves but you can just about make them out. Must get a close up photo tomorrow morning.

So the countdown begins and I can't wait.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Birthday Decorations

It's been a tradition for as long as I can remember that I decorate the house on Caits birthday. I can't remember when/how it started although I think something from "Fairy things to make and do" may have been involved. I seem to remember fairies made from cardboard and straws dangling from our fireplace.

As is the way with traditions they grow every year and the same can be said of birthday decorations! We've had everything from painted flowers and stars with dots on them to cut out birds inspired byPetra Boase.

This year I challenged myself to stick to the bird theme, which incidentally reigned also last summer for Niamhs birthday. This time though I found something three dimensional to have a go at.... bird cages!

I stumbled across a blog called the the BridesCafe which has a fab tutorial for the following birdcages and they are so simple.

I got busy over the weekend and came up with my own versions.

One nice thing was that they were simple enough that Niamh was able to help and she made the one all in pink in the middle of the shot. The most important thing though was that Cait liked them!

Birthday decorations down.... just two advent calendars to sort now!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Light Up Hassocks

I managed to cram everything for the stall into three large bags and had the handy help of my folks to carry it all round for set up time. I draped a few vintage tablecloths over the trestle table and I was in business. Everything fitted on just perfectly and all my little props and baskets seemed just the ticket for adding a bit of character to the set up.

My beautiful cushions.

The bits and bobs end, including my popular decorations.

These are Caits fab rag dolls but I can't work out how to rotate the photo so you'll have to tilt your head!

The whole evening was such fun with a little procession down the main street. The lights were switched on by Harry, the son of one of our friends, and the school choir, including little Niamh, sang a selection of festive songs.

My stall was in a really good place in the main hall and I had lots and lots of people come to browse and buy. It was great talking to people and getting good feedback on the items. The best sellers by far were the rings and decorations, with the brooch kits coming in third. I had as many requests for the bright version as I did the vintage and have made some kits up over this weekend. I aim to get up and running on Etsy this week (lots of people asked if I was online) and they'll be one of the first things I post. 

I manned the stall with Cait all evening bar the school choir moment when we had the fantastic help of the Watson family on the stall. A glass or two of mulled wine seemed to keep me going. The second half of the evening was quieter but it was still quite fruitful in the sales stakes and there was more time to talk to the browsers. On top of all that it was lovely to see everyone I knew that stopped by to say hello and give me a little support.

It was a great experience and I am really glad that I did it. It's got me thinking about doing a little more locally. 

Between now and Christmas my personal challenge is to get the Etsy shop stocked with some of the main things. For 2012 I'd like to think I could do this again somewhere else.

Friday, 25 November 2011

What fun

What fun that was! I'll do a proper post tomorrow with pictures of the stall but everything went so well and I got such lovely feedback from people. I need to get an online shop up and running quickly. 

It was really fascinating to see what sold, and a few things surprised me. The wooden decorations were a huge hit and only a few left to hand around the home! I made some bright versions of my button brooch kit and could have sold several more. Need to make some up over the weekend.

Thank you to everyone that came to the stall and if anyone would like to buy any extras drop me a comment or an email and it will be my pleasure.

Off for a glass of wine!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Last weekend of preparations.

The last full push to get items ready has seen a flurry of activity this weekend.

Friday night on the sofa was spent sewing some brooches.

Saturday afternoon saw rings and hairclips all finished and mounted ready to be sold.

Sundays morning was Christmas Decorations. Do you rememeber those beads that I showed a couple of weeks back? They are now adorning some lovely Christmas decorations. Hopefully these might not all sell because I'd love to have a few about the house.

And amongst all this Mr B has been just fab this weekend, letting me crack on, and I even got some lovely flowers. I split the big bunch up and made a small arrangement for one of my favourite corners of the house.

The frightening thing is that once the sale is over next weekend there are more crafty jobs to do. I've birthday decorations to make to Cait, who turns 14 next week, and then two advent calendars to make. Two traditions started moons ago when I had more time. Two traditions that I will never forgo because no matter how busy I am I love doing them for the girls.

This is an advent calendar from a few years back.....

This is another Christmas job. One for the week before when the family is all together with a whole week off work and we can enjoy every moment. There is lots involved in making this and I don't just mean the eating of the Sweets!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Preparations continue

Preparations are in full swing and there's something to do every evening. Busy? Yes, but its really quite relaxing pulling it all together and I've possibly got too many ideas in my head to carry off!

So one night in front of the television was putting together all my tablecloth weights.

Saturday morning was spent with the glue gun. I assembled lots of rings and I've another lot still to do. I assembled these first and then sought some feedback from the girls on those they liked the best. It helps to steer me in the right direction rather then just the combinations I like. For Niamh it just needs to be pink and purple but Cait is more discerning and has a great eye for colour.

This was part of last nights project and really exciting. It was one of those moments when you are in a creative mood even though it's late at night and things just kept coming together. So I've started with a  collection of vintage buttons from my junk shop finds....

Added a cotton doily that I found in the local antiques market and some old purple linen left over from 'way ago' and I am hoping to have a fabulous cushion cover. 

It will be one of those creations where I will always be a winner. If I sell it, well that's great and really rewarding that someone else liked it to. If I don't I'll be delighted because I would love it one the sofa in the kitchen! Sometimes the one off pieces are really hard to part with.

I'll be sorry to see these two go too. I really love this look and these would look great on the window seat in the Lounge.

Off to do a little more and then I might treat myself to a glass of wine!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Our new addition

Meet Caoimhe, pronounced "kee-va". She's about 12 weeks old and seems to have made herself at home very quickly.

We went visiting at the breeder on Saturday and bought her home the same day. Didn't want to frighten her with the camera straight away though.

She's dead soppy when she's with you, though still slightly nervous around the house and with strange noises. She loves nothing more than being on your lap or at your side and has a fabulous purr. I grew up with dogs but can see that I'm a cat person already!

Managed to also find some time at the weekend to crack on with stock for the sale and now have a small collection of linen lavender bags ready and a few more waiting to be finished.

I also got chance to put a couple of hair clips together and play around with mounting them on the business cards ready for purchase. Hopefully you'd agree that it's quite a nice way to display them.

As more and more things keep coming together I'm getting more excited.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Yesterdays delivery

I always love the postman ringing the bell with a parcel and today was no exception. In the box yesterday were all the goodies that I ordered to help with the sale. It was really exciting to see the logo on stationary and looking quite professional.

I managed to get a really good deal so I not only had postcards made for the logo but also some of photos of a couple of the favourite items that I have made. They look great and will be good for popping in bags to remind people what I do. I also came up with a little strapline.... happiness is handmade. 

My workspace seems to be getting fuller and fuller with all the bits that I am starting to pull together. I thought of the need for bags the other day so I pulled together all the nice plain ones I had in our "bag" drawer and also found some brown paper ones left over from Niamh's 5th birthday party. It looks relatively tidy here though.

Fortunately some things need more space than others but with these little gems the key has been to keeping them out of the way so that nobody knocks them before I glue them. One day soon they will become rings and hair slides.

Friday, 28 October 2011


So it's time to make my room messy! Not that hard really.... it quite often is. This time though it will be with a real purpose. I have written a list of the sorts of things that I think might sell well at the event at the end of November. I'm now trying to pull together a selection of items but I'm thinking it might be tricky judging quantities.... however there's no reason why I can't take orders if something sells really well and I run out of stock. The trick will be to hit a variety of price points so that there is something for everyones purse.

I thought I would start by taking some inspiration from a cushion I made last year, still one of my favourites and lots of people comment on it which is a good place to start.

The cutting mat has been out and production has begun. I love the colours that I chose before but to cater for a variety of tastes I've made a purple/pink one too. If it doesn't sell little Niamh has already declared it hers!

I've also got a lot of wooden beads in a pot ready for another project and I just love the colours here too. when you jumble things up like this it's amazing what colour combination gems you start to spot.

Little steps.

Saturday, 22 October 2011


So I've decided that it was time that I had some sort of logo. Something that represents what I do. I have been pondering about it for a while and recently was able to get access to Adobe Illustrator which has spurred me into action. As I have now also decided to have my first proper sale at the end of November at a village event I thought I'd better get on with it.

I love images of birds and I am brightonbirdy so using a bird seemed the obvious choice. I wanted it to try and represent what I do though as the name doesn't give any insight alone. So I cunningly reused a decoration that I had made for when Niamh turned 5. It all spotty and was the theme for her party. To represent the handmade element of what I do I added some stitch lines around the outside. I really like it. Clean, crisp with colours that I love.

I then needed to add the name and wanted to stick with red text which is what I use for my sew in labels. so then the logo became this.
I'm really pleased with it, I have an identity! The next step will be to get some cards printed with it for use at the sale and of course to pop at the top of my blog!