Monday, 28 December 2009


So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye

By the time you read this post, I will be well into The Best Day of My Life. Why?
  1. After packing, I found out we had 50% of the baggage allowance I was anticipating.
  2. We have to leave the house at 3:30AM to get to the airport to check in for our 5:55AM flight.
  3. After arriving in Amsterdam, we have a six hour layover.
  4. Wait... Amsterdam? Isn't that where the most recent terrorist embarked? Yes. Good thing we have six hours to go through security.
  5. Enhanced security will require us to stay in our seats for the last hour of the flight. And no blankets on laps. And we can't go into our bags. Say, for example, when Maia wets herself or vomits all over my head. Because all terrorists are the same and they only have one plan.
Provided I survive today (and can tear myself away from Baby Calvin), I'll check back later in the week!

Sunday, 27 December 2009


Warning: contains awesomeness

Remember when I said everyone was getting a Thinsulate-based gift for Christmas? They did. They took a lot longer to make than you'd think. Because drawing on Thinsulate with markers is actually very hard.

For Jamie, in homage to The Love of the Dida, a Ryvita cosy:

For Maia, in homage to The Love of Boobies, a pretty brooch:
For Steven, in homage to His Love for Me, a Thinsulate covered notebook:

And look, he likes it so much he's already on page three!

Please try not to be overcome with jealousy. Maybe one day you can marry into my family and get hooked up with Thinsulate gifts too.

Saturday, 26 December 2009


Highbrow Hobo bag

After the aggravation of making my own handbag without a pattern, I bought the Highbrow Hobo pattern from U-Handbag to make a present for my soon-to-be-sister-in-law. It has a generous deep pocket between the straps on the outside and I added another pocket to the inside as it's rather capacious in there. Please take a minute to marvel at my first magnetic clasp.

I have the utmost respect for you bagmakers. They really do take a surprisingly long time to make. And require so much ironing. And topstitching. The toil is slightly mitigated by the pleasure I gain from sewing those rectangular cross thingeys on the straps.

And another, more straightfoward bag was made for my mother-in-law.

It's a perfect size for holding make-up or toiletries, with a boxed base so it stands up on it's own.

It's fully lined with dotty fabric and has covered fabric zipper ends for a neater finish.

Friday, 25 December 2009


Merry Christmas

Hope everyone has a fantastic day!

Thursday, 24 December 2009


Santa snowman

Being the final coutdown to Christmas, everything I'm making at the moment is Top Secret. Except for the Santa Snowman.

Standing five feet tall, he's in our shared back garden smiling at the building, and no doubt aggravating our pernickity elderly neighbours' angina for being so gorgeous.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009


The Snow dress

This velveteen dress is a custom order for a six year old and the first one I made with my new spotty binding.

As you can see from the background, Edinburgh finally got the snow the rest of the UK has been experiencing this week. And it is the absolute perfect consistency for snowmen.

We started working on a giant snowman Santa in our back garden but the children didn't take it as seriously as some other people did (can you guess?) so it was shelved until I can lower my expectations this afternoon.

Or maybe even after they're in bed. I might have to go out with a flashlight tonight to finish.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009


The internet saved my life

When I made a passing reference yesterday to the fact I can wear Maia's hat, I didn't expect to receive thousands of emails and comments begging for proof. And I didn't but, hey. So here I am giving that hat the thumbs up:

Why should you be concerned about this picture? Beyond the fact that I look like Dorkness Incarnate? Because that's a hat for a two year old. Which means I have a very small head. I remember learning in high school that one of the manifestations of cretinism (as in actual cretins not slandered cretins) was a small head so I thought I'd do little search to confirm. And what did I find? That your morbid curiosity might have saved my life.

That's right. On top of the three suspected serious illnesses causing my hair to fall out, it's possible I have a further 778 diseases purely for having a small head. And thirteen of them are very rare, so expect a documentary about me on Channel 4 in the New Year. Called 'Me and my small head are riddled with rare diseases'. These are just the ones that start with the letter A:

Anyone else this the repetition of 'small head' is practically taunting me? I was further alarmed to find that my small head is causing me all sorts of problems. When my ears hurt? Small head. Depression? Small head. Mouth ulcer? Small head. Next time Steven complains about my behaviour, I'm going to say 'There are 481 reasons that my bad behavior is directly attributable to my small head. Stop persecuting me.'

And my long term prospects? Not good:

Luckily, I found a very helpful worksheet that will help me focus before the inevitable doctor's appointment.

Isn't the power of the internet amazing?

Monday, 21 December 2009


Tutorial: Wintery fleece hat with ear flaps

There is still plenty of time before Christmas to make one! This hat fits both a two year old (19.5" head circumference), a four year old (21" head circumference) and *cough* myself, although not in a remotely flattering fashion. So if you making one for a bigger or smaller person adjust the measurements accordingly.
  1. Cut two rectangles measuring 10.5" by 7.5" and two rectangles measuring 10.5" by 6" with the stretch along the width. Cut four roughly 3.5" by 3.5" squares and then round their edges along the bottom. This makes pretty big lampchop-esque flaps so feel free to make them smaller if you prefer a more petite look! For the tassels I cut twenty 0.5" by 3.5" strips.
  2. Right sides facing sew the bands together at the left and right sides. Fold right sides out with the raw edges aligned and you have a circular band.
  3. Right sides facing, sew around the curved edge of your first ear flap, leaving the top open. Flip right side out. Repeat for second ear flap.
  4. Baste the top edge closed.
  5. Bunch up half of your tassels. It helps to wind a thread around them and pull tight to keep them together.
  6. Place the bunch in the top corner of the hat rectangle (onto the right side of the fabric), at a 45deg angle facing down. Pin in place.
  7. Baste across the tassels at a 45deg angle. At this point, your machine might seriously hate you because the fabric is so thick, so push down quite hard with your finger / hand and go slowly.
  8. Repeat for the second tassel.
  9. Put the other rectangle on top of the piece with tassels and pin in place. Turn over so that you can see the basting stitches at the corners.
  10. Following the blue line below, stitch up one side until you get about a 1/4" below your basting line. Pivot and sew across at a 45deg angle, below your basting stitch line. Reverse back a forth over this line a few times in case it's skipped any stitches and so your tassels are firmly secured. At the top, pivot again at sew along the top edge until you are about 1/4" inside of your basting line, pivot and sew across at a 45deg angle below your basting stitch line (repeating a couple of times), pivot again and then sew down the remaining side seam. Leave the bottom open.
  11. Trim your corners.
  12. Flip right side out.
  13. Pin your ear flap to the inside of your hat, straddling the side seam, and baste in place. Repeat for other ear flap.
  14. With the ear flaps still pointing up, place your band inside the hat, matching up at the side seams. All raw edges are aligned. Pin in place. Using a medium length stitch to allow a little bit of stretch, stitch around the circumference. Again, going very slowly over where the ear flaps are because, most likely, your machine will be hating you again.
  15. Flip the band up to the right side of the hat and the ear flaps will pop down.
  16. Find a nudist to try it on!

Sunday, 20 December 2009


Getting into the festive spirit

We were kindly invited to an early Christmas lunch at Robbie and Emma's house yesterday.

Crackers were pulled...

Hats were worn...

A veritable feast was put on, of which my kids ate nothing despite threats that they would not get any ice cream. I was saved from following this threat through by the table collapsing and all four kids and their food landing in a heap on the floor.

So ice cream was doled out...

And some chocolate sauce too...

The boys sang a carol to celebrate.

Sprinkles fought over...

But added with great satisfaction.

And then the games!

Where does Jamie get his moves?!

Otherwise know as herding cats.