#StitchingSanta 2016


Having signed up for Sewchet‘s #stitchingsanta again this year I was determined to be organised and plan my sewing well in advance. However ……. despite the early good intentions I still ended up finishing everything off at the last minute so I’m relieved to know that my parcel has arrived.

Wrapping everything up focused my mind on this year’s gift wrapping theme.  Yes, I always have a theme!  I really LOVE wrapping presents even if I do end up ‘cutting and sticking’ into the early hours.  I try to use up supplies I already have – and always use plain brown paper for the basic wrapping.  This year I wanted to include black and white stripes but, believe me, there was no black and white striped wrapping paper to be had around here apart from some tissue paper from Paperchase which I decided would have to do.   I’ve also bought a few lengths of ribbon and some pink tissue.

I never seem to be in my house during daylight hours at the moment so these photos are rather poor but I think the black, white and pink theme is pretty obvious!

There was only a tiny length of that butterfly trim left from a previous project so my recipient is very lucky!  Stamping shapes out of paper is SO satisfying.  I just wish I’d found the gadget given to me as a present years ago which corrugates paper and card before I wrapped these up.  It’s brilliant and I’m corrugating everything now!

The purchased gifts were scissor-related so I printed a gift tag to match.


I hope everything is well received.  It’s quite nerve-racking sewing for people who sew!

This will be my last post in 2106 so thank you for all your likes, comments and encouragement.  I hope everyone has a Very Happy Christmas and here’s to a creative 2017.

Just a Card and a seasonal pledge

This is a post I wasn’t planning to write just yet but a recent re-tweet by Mollie Makes drew my attention to a campaign by artist and designer Sarah Hamilton.

Just a Card

Sarah decided to launch the campaign when the owner of a gallery that was closing told her …

If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought just a card we’d still be open

Anyone who has ever tried to make a living using their making skills will know just how difficult this can be and the aim of this campaign is to encourage people to support independent shops and galleries, even if it is just by buying something small like a card.  My card collection is testament to the fact that I’ve been following this approach for a while!  I just need to actually give some of them away now and again!

There are more details on the campaign to be found by clicking on either of the links above with ideas for spreading the word, including posting images of your purchases using the hashtag #justacard.   There is also a lovely web button that you can add to your blog.

Onto my pledge which has been further inspired by the campaign.  This is something I’d hoped to do last year but left things a bit late and didn’t quite manage it.  I am now approaching the moment where I have to use the words …. Christmas shopping.  There, I’ve done it!  My aim is to buy all my Christmas presentsfrom independent shops – apart from those that I make myself. I’m going to add charity shops to the list to allow for fabric or vintage finds that I can add to the mix.  I know this is going to be a challenge but now I’ve made a commitment in writing I’ll be more likely to stick to it.  I won’t be able to share everything I buy because some of the recipients read this blog and that would ruin the, hopefully lovely, surprise.  I’ve already got a list of shops lined up.  One of my favourites is Workshop in Prince Albert Street, Brighton with its irresistible range of carefully selected products for the home – and the people who own it are just lovely.  They also stock scrumptious chocolate bars from Nomnom in Wales. The mince pie version last year was a winner.

I’ll be reporting on other special independent retailers as the shopping progresses.

I also need to come up with a new gift wrapping theme for this year.  Possibly ideas include :

  • Something fabric related …. an opportunity to use up all those scraps
  • Recycling – I’ve done this before but this time I’ll avoid the ironing of plastic bags between baking parchment to create a new material!  Quite effective but the fumes were grim!
  • Hand-printed wrapping paper – I have a kit given to me by my sister last Christmas for carving a printing stamp so this could be the opportunity to use it
  • A recipe I found on Pinterest for making Christmas ornaments and gift tags using cornstarch, baking soda and water

This was last year’s theme which was reasonably easy to achieve because I only had to pick stuff from the garden (mostly other people’s gardens to be honest) and add some ribbon and brown paper.

I love wrapping presents – one of the best bits of Christmas in my opinion!



Birthday Treats

No sewing this weekend. I had to take my mother to hospital for laser treatment on her eye – very quick and successful – and it was a birthday weekend for her and my sister.

There was lots of present wrapping required which is one of my favourite activities. The yellow fish design paper came from the shop at Pallant House Gallery in Chichester but my favourite was the one featuring the grape hyacinth which my sister bought in Pen to Paper in Brighton. It is gorgeous.

Obviously birthdays mean cake so it was time for another recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days. I cheated with the  Raspberry Trifle Cupcakes by using a ready made fresh vanilla custard rather than making my own because I was short of time but they were really delicious. The centre of each cake conceals a whole raspberry, raspberry jam and a custard/cream combination. More cream mixture and a raspberry decorate the top and I added flaked almonds which I think are an essential part of a raspberry trifle.

Back to the sewing machine tonight.

All Wrapped Up

Whilst I tend to avert my eyes to avoid looking at all the early manifestations of Christmas appearing in the shops from September onwards there are some things I love about the festive season, not least wrapping up presents.

Over the years there have been many themes including ‘pink & sparkly’, ‘Bollywood’ and ‘Recycled’, the latter involving lots of homemade papier mâché stars to adorn the parcels.

Last year was glamorous pink and black and the previous year saw a more neutral approach with handmade paper flowers which extended to some homemade crackers.

This year I’ve decided to make use of the bay and rosemary plants in the garden and go for a fresh, green look. Last night I could be found wandering round in the dark taking clippings to make a start on some prototypes. I’m planning to use plain brown paper for the basic wrapping but had none to hand so utilised small brown cardboard boxes left over from some lovely Merchant & Mills haberdashery items given to me by my sister last Christmas.

I’m quite pleased with the results so have now stocked up on green ribbons of various widths and some rustic fabrics and papers.

All I need now is to get on with some Christmas shopping so I’ve got something to wrap up!