Monday 30 November 2009


Out with the old, in with the new

I had an order over the weekend for a tunic using my very last mossy green cherry print babycord. Truly, the end of an era; I loved that fabric. But, I'm on a tunic making fest and here are five completely new ones....

Pink Euro flowers babycord

Red tulips

Underwater sisters

Blue manga girls

Ginger blossom babycord

All in all I have twenty one tunics in progress, mainly for the fair coming up next Saturday but also for two Top Secret reasons, one of which I hope to be able to reveal tomorrow...

Sunday 29 November 2009


Funk Fair

With less than a week to go I thought it was time to publicise my one and only pre-Christmas fair for the considerable number of people who land here after searching for 'Kitschy Coo craft fair'...

I missed out on last year's market but I've been told that it's a very modern and cool selection of handmade designers and vintage sellers. It's at the Christ Church Hall, Holy Cross next Saturday (5th Dec) from 10am to 5pm. So if you're in Edinburgh and looking for an alternative Christmas shopping scene, please stop in and buy every single thing I brought say hello.

Saturday 28 November 2009


Preamble to pie

I had a big quandary last night about the pie I'm providing for Thanksgiving lunch at a friend's...

Then she sends me an over-complicated pumpkin pie recipe....

I hope Cathy forgives me...

Friday 27 November 2009


Retro rocket hoodie

The lastest addition to hoodie-fest. Unmodelled due to a) sub-artic temperatures b) Jamie's lurgy c) I'm saving it for my market next weekend after the dawning realisation that I have nowt for boys.

Can we please add to yesterday's post: I'm thankful for this fabric?

The other side is red flannel with rocket pockets.

Thursday 26 November 2009



Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends and family! I wish I was home in the bosom of my family but it wasn't possible this year. But here are some things that I'm thankful for:
  • Two beautiful, clever, hilarious and mostly charming children.
  • That my greatly missed husband is home from his trip and promptly recommenced laundry duty.
  • My family 3000 miles away, who are separated by distance but close to my heart.
  • My family just down the street, who help us get through the days.
  • Jane, my childminder, who is a source of strength for me and took over this morning after Jamie threw The Biggest OCD Tantrum of 2009.
  • My fellow ex-pat, Cathy, whose family are sharing their Thanksgiving with us on Saturday.
  • My friends in real life, who I don't see as often as I'd like to but are no less appreciated. Especially when they bring coffee. Yes, I mean you, Friend Sarah.
  • The community of amazing mothers, fathers, crafters, humourists, and geeks that I've found online, you've made my life better.
  • Everyone who stops by my blog to see what I've made, commiserates through the hard times, and laughs at my jokes. My self-esteem thanks you.
  • My new friend, Lynn, who suggested I listen to books on tape while sewing. An awesome idea.
  • The fabric designers who provide me with so much fabric porn I'll never be satiated. Or solvent, but hey-ho.
  • The customers who indulge my fabric obsession, which allows me to buy more.
  • Whoever invented central heating.
  • Thank you, Sweden, for Alexander Skarsgard. Or more specially, thank you Mr and Mrs Skarsgard.
  • And thank you, Adobe, for Photoshop. You've helped me realise my potential to be awesome. And Microsoft, for Excel and Powerpoint. But not for Word or Access, they're no fun at all.
So what are you thankful for?

Wednesday 25 November 2009


Blogging with Integrity

I have started to get quite a few emails from PR companies wanting me to feature products and reviews on my blog. It probably has something to do with my inclusion in the Tots100 Top UK Parents Blogs and I admit it's flattering to be asked. But it's also raised a lot of questions for me.

The most straightforward reason that I've not agreed to review anything is because what I've been approached about just doesn't fit. This blog is a bit of a strange beast, I would consider it a crafting blog before a parenting blog, with geekery and humour thrown in. And PRs aren't approaching me about notions or fabric (but they should, clearly), it's children's products or services. And seeing that my children show up mostly as models or angst-bearers, unless the PR companies are offering me a magic wand, high protein Ryvitas or a straightjacket, it's unlikely to fit into this blog.

And here's the other reason why I've decided not to do product reviews. Last week I saw a glowing review on a blog I read and it piqued my interest. I thought it might help us in our sleep battles with Jamie, which unfortunately have recommenced after months of improvement. I was excited about the product and pointed it out to Steven. But when I went a site to buy it, it had terrible reviews, from impartial people who had bought it and were dissatisfied. And that was a clincher for me, I'm not sure I could be impartial about things that were given to me. I'm not questioning this blogger's integrity, she probably had a good experience with the product. I'm talking just about me.

I normally over-research products because I like to see the bigger picture, to be certain of things before committing. I look on one site, I look on another, I ask people, I do more research. It's one of my more maddening endearing traits. That makes me loathe to commit my one voice to a review. Maybe someone similar to me would read my review, and then others, and think 'She's not being objective'. Or maybe someone who doesn't research as much as me would take my word for it. And if someone bought something because I said it was great, but it was not great (even for them) I would feel responsible, that I had mislead them.

So what does everyone else think about sponsored posts? Is there a place for them within blogs? Or within separate, reviews-only blogs? Do they alienate you? Are they ever objective? Do you trust them?

Tuesday 24 November 2009


When did he get so big?

We were saying goodbye this morning, me sending him off into the Big Wide World. He's on his own now. I worried, 'What if someone is mean to him? Will he eat enough? I hope he sleeps all right because if he doesn't get enough sleep he's cranky.' We checked his bag to make sure he had everything. I rubbed a bit of toothpaste off his cheek and smoothed his hair. 'He looks so grown-up,' I thought. 'Better go,' he said. 'Wait, let me take your picture!'

Wait... you didn't think I was talking about Jamie, right? No, it's Steven I sent off to the Big Wide World today, on his very first business trip. And before anyone tsks about me infantilising my husband, I'm doing all the child-rearing for the next 48 hours so that gives me license to do just about anything. Except laundry.

Monday 23 November 2009


Every cloud has a manga lining

Remember how last week I was bragging about how happy I was with my hoodie pattern? After about 12 revisions? How all I had to do was scale it down (italics added to emphasise naivety)? Well, when I went to scale it down I discovered something fishy. Somewhere along the way I rotated the armscythe about an inch off centre. I had to go back about six revisions to correct my mistake and then travel through all of the changes I had made since version six to get back to where I started. So that's the bad news. The good news? I get to make my kids two more hoodies.

Maia is sporting the 18m/ 2T size. It's slightly neat but she is very big for her age and mostly wears 3T anyway. Just how awesome is this fabric? Don't try to answer that question, it's impossible to put into words.

So, yeah, here we come version 13. That hood's too small. Or maybe her cranium is too big because it houses her preturnaturally gifted brain. But I probably will make the hood bigger just in case it's not just her.

She can wear this side when she's listening to Death Metal.

Purple trousers weren't originally part of the plan but that's what she was sporting on the way home from the childminder's. Can you guess why? It had something to do with this post.

Sunday 22 November 2009


In defense of the European Union

I received a massive package from Holland this week, and on top of replenishing some of my velveteen and babycord fabrics, I also received all these ribbons. If you ever hear anyone saying that Europe is not awesome, please direct them to this post:

Mushrooms, Matryoshkas and Flying Birds

Red Paisley and Chocolate Paisley

Red, lime and chocolate spotty bias binding

And unlike deliveries from the States, you don't have to pay duty / customs on goods from the European Union. Go, Europe and go, me!

Saturday 21 November 2009


Astronomy and toilet training

Welcome to Week One Million of toilet training Maia. And by Week One Million, I mean Week Four. It just feels like Week One Million, because of the amount of laundry we're doing. Or the number of plastic bags we're accruing filled with soiled clothes either destined for the laundry, or in some cases, the bin. We're trying everything: gentle encouragement, praise, not so gentle encouragement, rewards, pleading, voodoo. But the girl will just not poop where she's meant to to. I'm at the end of my tether, I'm willing to try anything. And by anything I mean astronomy.

Sheesh, astonomy is complicated. Every single day, all these planets are moving, into different alignments, different convergences, into houses, out of houses... What does it all mean? And what does it all mean about pooping? I've been charting everything. Charting all these variables and how they interact with each other. And I came up with this:

If you're not an astronomer like me, you might need a bit of guidance to read this chart. Every coloured line represents a scenario and where they intersect, an outcome. So 'Fully clothed' and 'In public' results in pooping at the soft play centre. If only I'd consulted my charts before that happened. This week we've at least moved into the 'Sheer Bloody Coincidence' meridian, and she's had three on the toilet. Whether or not we're temporarily or permanently in the House of Toilet-Trained is not clear though.

Friday 20 November 2009


Party frock giveaway winner

Without further ado, the winner of the reversible party frock pattern is... Grace! Who wanted more time for Christmas. Ahem, sister.

Grace, can you send me an email because I couldn't find your contact details?

Thursday 19 November 2009


Retro guitar hoodie

I haven't made anything for Jamie for about a year and now that he's not treating my wares a kryptonite, I thought it was high time I did. He was so grateful and excited about it I really need to work on more boy stuff!

This is like version twelve of my hoodie pattern and I'm finally happy with it.

And seeing as I've finally managed to track down some reversible zippers that don't cost more than the fabric required, I made it reversible. The other side is soft flannel with big guitar pockets. I'm liking how it ties in the interior of the hood.

Today's task is to scale the final 3T / 4T pattern down to the 18m/2T size and write the tute up. So... anyone with a bit of spare time and a fabric stash want to test this? Maybe someone with a boy for a change? I can throw in a reversible zip!

Wednesday 18 November 2009


Snow White: The Scottish version

Me: Who's that?
Jamie: Doc.
Me: Who's that?
Jamie: Sneezy.
Me: Who's that?
Jamie: Happy.
Me: Who's that?
Jamie: Bashful.
Me: Who's that?
Jamie: Dopey.
Me: Who's that?
Jamie: Sleepy.
Me: Who's that?
Jamie: Hamish.

Tuesday 17 November 2009


Giveaway: Reversible party frock

I love my testers, I really do. Bron from Rhubarb Crumble just completed my reversible party frock pattern and knocked my socks of with her feedback. So a couple small changes to the tute and the pattern and they're off to the printers.

Bron made this beautiful butterfly print dress for her little girl, Miss Small, who was so enamoured with the butterfly side that she wore it all day.

The teal needcord side got a tiny look-in, just long enough for some modelling to demonstrate how full the skirt is.

The pattern also has the option for a big fat sash, kindly demonstrated by the delectable Erica.

It has a retro style (I was watching a lot of Mad Men when I designed it) with a high neck, generous shoulders, a slightly high waist and a very full skirt. There's a slit in the back with a single button closure. The pattern includes sizes 18m/2T and 3T/4T. The pattern should hit my shop in a couple of days, but before then... a giveaway! To enter just leave a comment on this post with the thing you want the most for Christmas (yeah, I know it's a bit early but hey). If you link to the giveaway on Twitter / Facebook / blog feel free to pop back and leave another comment. I'll randomly pick a winner on Thursday.