Friday 24 December 2010


Christmas Sneaky Peak: #5

Thursday 23 December 2010


Christmas Sneaky Peak #4

Wednesday 22 December 2010


Christmas Sneak Peak #3

Tuesday 21 December 2010


Christmas Sneaky Peak #2

Monday 20 December 2010


Christmas Sneaky Peek #1

I've almost finished the Christmas present challenge with only one more to go! I'm afraid we're venturing into Top Secret territory though so for the next couple of days I'll just be posting sneaky peaks...

Friday 17 December 2010


I'm going to cease Christmas Crafting with immediate effect and just give you my autograph. You're welcome.

Last night I was asked to participate in the BBC's Good Morning Scotland radio programme and despite my extreme nerves (and after much cajoling by my friends on Twitter), I agreed. Get me and my big britches. I was picked up early this morning, whisked to the studio and they even let me in. I wasn't sure that last bit was actually going to happen.

Outside the studio

That is 'my' studio to the right. In the lefthand studio was non other than Alistair Darling. I can't be entirely sure (as I was on-air at the time) if he was also being interview about Christmas Crafting, but probably.

In the studio

It was very kind of the gentleman in reception to endulge my dorkiness and take my picture but he's probably used to it (no doubt Alistair Darling asked him too). He also turned a blind eye to me spilling coffee and gave me a last minute pep talk to calm my nerves before prepping me on the booth and how it worked. Unfortunately he assumed people being asked to speak on the radio would have a basic level of intelligence and failed to tell me I'd need to put the head phones on. Good thing I popped my head out with seconds to spare to confirm, or this interview never would have happened.

So here we go then. People in the UK who want to listen, the show can be found here. Obviously I'd recommend listening to the entire three hour programme because it's very reputable with a high caliber of guests but if you just want to listen to just me it starts at the 1:46.40 mark.

Poor, sad non-UK folk won't be able to listen to the iPlayer* but if you want a transcript it's something like this:

Them: (Question?)
Me: Ehhhh.
Them: (Question?)
Me: Hmmm.
Them: (Question?)
Me: Emmm.

*EDITED TO ADD: Lyn in America has said she did manage to listen! And here's how:
"I started the regular player and when I tried to go to the play position you listed it said "not enough bandwidth." I switched to the low bandwidth version (lower left of the player) and it played fine."

Wednesday 15 December 2010


Thanks a lot, friends and family. Making your gifts is making me sad.

oven mitts double

One of the problems I find with making everyone's gifts (other than lack of time) is that I want to keep everything for myself. But to keep these oven mitts would be the height of perversion and covetousness.

oven mitts Jamie
'What are these crazy things?'

Exhibit One: A bemused expression denoting an unfamiliarity with the concept of oven gloves.

oven mitts Maia
'So you reach out... and grab things?'

Exhibit Two: An incredulity of putting hands into things and then using them to grab hot things.

Exhibit Three: A post from the annals of Toddler Jamie wearing oven gloves as slippers. I rest my case, Your Honour.

oven mitts blossom

It's not that I am a terrible baker, or that 50% of my kids have a raw food diet (both which are true), but that we haven't had a functional oven in eight months, perhaps even longer. It isn't entirely unusable. But it only has one temperature and that setting is called 'Burn'. By opening and shutting the door to try to regulate the temp (and mitigate the burning), I can heat things up but anything involving precise temperatures or longer than twenty minutes is out.

oven mitts strawberry

Oven disobedience nonwithstanding, I would be a terrific baker if I had oven gloves like this. I can feel it in me bones.

oven mitts reversed

And they're reversible. So I'd be two times as awesome.

Tuesday 14 December 2010


This might constitute a manic episode

ipod covers times three

I think I've earned a first class degree in Masochism by deciding I'm going to make everyone a Christmas present this year.

ipod covers blue back

In a week.

ipod covers blue front opening

And I've been photographing everything I make.

ipod covers green closure

Because, you know, I have plenty of time to write tutorials.

ipod covers green front

I am awash with spare time.

ipod cozy phone inside

In between making All the People, All the Things.

ipod cozy button detail

Comment suggestions:
  • General pats on the back for prolific output.
  • Tales of how much you miss me generally (or in the evenings) because Virgin won't let me go on the internet.
  • A frank discussion of how much I should be charging Steven to make things for his family. And by 'frank' I mean someone say 'heaps' and then everyone else agrees.

Sunday 12 December 2010


If I delete this post later it's because he has a skull fracture and dinosaur jokes aren't funny

I have a fun new game. It's called, 'Is this my son or a dinosaur?'

My son:



Saturday 11 December 2010


The Communal Trapper Hat

trapper hat girl

The wayward faux fur I ordered before the snowfall finally arrived today, as did the replacement faux fur I ordered while being impatient. Too much faux fur going on here, especially as we're sharing this hat.

trapper hat boy

Did I say sharing? I meant to say fighting over, using a stop clock to monitor fair usage, and crying over. It also fits my possibly-terminally-ill-but-at-the-very-least-medically-anomalous small head.

trapper hat me

Although I'm very happy with the end result, I'm hoping we can work out a Trapper Hat Rota as this faux fur is heinous to sew with, disintegrating once cut and shedding its hair all over (and by all over I mean into my lungs). Is this normal for all fake fur, or is there magical membrane-sealed non-shedders?

Thursday 9 December 2010


The Awkward Pouch

leather pouch closed

In a shocking turn of events, two weeks ago I found out that Ebay does actually sell real leather. For years I'd (all right, stupidly) been searching for leather in the Fabric category and was frustrated that there was none. Thus grew my misconception that leather is ridiculously hard to find, and that when found, one should be prepared to pay ridiculous amounts for it as it's the only leather in the UK. Imagine my shock and consternation when searching for leather needles that there's an entire Leathercraft category in Ebay with thousands of hides, in hundreds of colours, at reasonable prices. As much as I love my Liberty leather, I wish I'd known before I paid that.

leather pouch open

Anyway, this isn't a sad story, it's a mostly happy story. Because now I've added some more colours to my leather stash! The only downside is that these new colours have come in fairly small (albeit uniform) pieces of 8"x8". This is a very awkward size. It's not wide enough for make-up bags, but too tall for phone cozies unless I trim a couple of inches off the top and therefore waste it.

leather pouch inside

I attempted a zippered pouch using a single square, resulting in a final bag measuring around 6.5"x3.5". Capacious enough to hold a small assortment of things like a phone / keys / pen / small cosmetics, but too capacious for holding just change (unless you are in the USA in which case you'd need a couple), I'm at a bit of a loss as to how best use these 8"x8" squares in future crafty endeavours. Because obviously I have heaps. What would you do*?

*Hoarding, smelling and stroking do not count, I've already thought of those.

Wednesday 8 December 2010


I declare the Fabric Sale open!

I've posted them all on my Facebook page into three different albums:

Knits (sorry so spartan!)

On each individual picture there is the fabric name, the quantity I have available and the price. If you want something, leave a comment on the picture stating your claim. If you don't have a Facebook account, you can email me and I'll stake on your behalf but it could get complicated if someone else bagses it before I see. Enraging Fact of the Day: Facebook no longer have a see photo comments button so bear with my if it takes me a little longer to collate information!

The sale is probably geared more to my British friends because the precious fabric is really precious here in the UK. Others are more than welcome, but should email me so we can discuss posting. Shipping within the UK will be £2 for 1-2 yds, £3 for 3-4 yds, £4 for 5-6 yds, £5 for 7-8 yds, and a flat £6 for above 8 yds. If you want recorded delivery add £1 to the amounts above.

The Big Reveal

I've mentioned a couple of times that I was working on a Big Project during the long periods of illness and snow cancellations, but it's finally complete and live.... I've got my first stockist!

Click here to order view!

The lovely Debbie from Monkey and Bo approached me after I made her daughter a tunic and asked me if I'd be willing to make a selection of limited edition hoodies and tunics for her shop. Of course I was more than willing, and despite the stress of sewing such a big order with the constant companionship of my invalids, I couldn't be more pleased. I'm not going to say how big the order was, but it did involve sewing sixty four sleeves on. Yikes.

These are the final hoodies I hadn't yet posted and they are for the bigger boys in sizes 5y/6y. I really hate taking pictures inside with our poor lighting, but the snow situation outside has prevented outdoor photoshoots. Beyond my own clearly wonderful offerings, Monkey and Bo stock a fabulous array of quirky and unique children's clothes and you should totally visit to buy my things lots of things.

Addendum: I'm thinking of a having a very quick fabric sale, starting today and running for the next couple of days... Who's in?

Tuesday 7 December 2010


Tutorial: Fifteen Minute Multi Snood

You guys are in for a rare treat today: my head is making an all-too-rare appearance, and you get to see me stripped of all dignity. Bookmark for lols.

1. babushka, 2. polkadot folded, 3. on head double folded, 4. polkadot unfolded, 5. on head semifolded, 6. red unfolded, 7. double folded, 8. semifolded

Now it's completely clear to me why Maia didn't want to model all the variations of the snood, the clever girl. Almost 38% are vaguely humiliating, although when it's -12deg as it was this morning, I might just value ears over dignity. It might not look at first glance that there's a huge difference between 2, 4, 7, and 8 but you'll have to trust me, it's some highly technical business between whether it's folded (and how many times) or scrunched.

So here's how to make your own. It's a super-fast project and there's no excuse to to make one for your loved or not-so-loved relations for Christmas. I used some polkadot jersey for one side, and red microfleece on the other. Being wide enough to fit over your head without stretching, you could probably use wovens too, but you'd want to use wovens that are not too stiff.

  • Cut your rectangles for each side of the snood. As I said above, I used polkadot jersey and microfleece. For me I made rectangles 27" wide by 17" high, for child sized I used 22" wide by 13" tall.
1 snood tute dimensions
  • Right sides facing, sew the rectangles together along the two wide edges (yellow lines).
2 snood tute sew together
  • Open your tube so the right sides are facing out and fold so the raw edges are all on one side. Pinch together the two fabric ones, leaving the two fabric twos hanging free.
3 snood tute pinch together
  • Pin the raw edges of fabric one together (so their right sides are facing) and continue doing this along the length of the raw edge, transitioning over the seam to pin together the two fabric twos.
4 snood tute pin together
  • Continue pinning all the way along this edge, you're going to end up with a tube again.
5 snood tute pin together done
  • Sew along this edge, starting in the middle of fabric two and ending about two inches away from where you started. You must leave this hole or you will cry!
6 snood tute leave hole
  • Pull the snood right sides out through this hole.
7 snood tute pull out
  • Slipstitch the hole shut. You're done!
8 snood tute slipstitch hole

As far as wearing it, it's tall enough that you can wear it slouched down, partially folded over, folded in half, or folded over twice, and with either of your fabrics facing out. The truly desperate confident can wear it on their head also if you really want to do that I'd recommend making the width narrower than 27" and closer to the circumference of their own head.

Remember if you make one to post it in the Flickr pool!

Monday 6 December 2010


The Underwhelming Ruffle Snood

The unrelenting, godforsaken snow continues and everything I am planning to craft for Christmas is on hold until postal delivery resumes. But on my first day sans children in 504 hours, I couldn't do nothing. So why not redress some of their cold weather complaints?

'I am smiling like this because I'm thinking of the sh*t-fit I'm going to throw when you attempt to demonstrate the versability of the snood.'

I whipped up this double-layer microfleece snood for Maia because her scarf from last year wasn't offering enough coverage and there were 'serious ongoing complaints' about snow making contact with the back of her neck. The ruffle was integrated because I'm clearly mental and hate my daughter. And that last bit was nearly true, because she point blank refused my attempts to show you how many ways you can wear it. Mani-fricking-fold, my friends. Including concealing the ruffle under the coat.

Sunday 5 December 2010


I might need me one of these

One of the most frustrating aspects of our quarantine was that I wasn't able to visit my friend Claire and steal meet her new baby. But with our newly non-contagious status (plus the fact her eldest succumbed to the pox himself!), we finally had the chance to spend some time with baby Kathryn.

I pulled out all of my trusty Ottobres, and made her a tiny outfit out of tulip-printed organic knit. The little reversible bonnet in the top picture, a cuffed raglan long sleeve t-shirt, and some feety trousers.

Sitting on the floor and with my nervous hands offering head support, Maia had her first shot of holding a baby. It seems that all of our friends who've had babies this year have had wonderfully placid babies, that actually sleep and are generally agreeable. If I could be assured that I'd get one of these magic babies I'd be seriously tempted, but previous form suggests not. Anyone who would like to offer surrogacy, please email with your magic baby credentials.

Saturday 4 December 2010


The Misanthropist breaks radio silence, has mixed feelings

For the last month, this is how I've categorise humanity*:

*Except people who read this blog. Unless I also know you in real life, in which case I probably at the very least want to push you over in the snow.

It's been a very trying month between Jamie's chicken pox, Maia's chicken pox and then school closures because of the snow. In what should have be my busiest and most profitable time of the year, I've lost seventeen days of childcare, more than 50 hours of sleep, six packages in the mail and probably a four figure sum in lost sales at a time we need it most. It's been frustrating to say the least, and I've mostly resided somewhere between ragey and stabby.

But now that life will (hopefully) return to normal on Monday, I can reflect on something positive that's come out of this month: I've rediscovered that Jamie and Maia are actually rather delightful. It's been a long time since I have spent full days with them and an even longer time since I've spent full days with just one of them. Individually, without the constant sibling squabbling and with my (mostly) undivided attention, what a joy they are to hang out with. Even when the snow sequestered both of them in the house, the three of us relaxed into a more content threesome. Buoyed with the success of our Christmas-themed redecoration, we even attempted more Christmas crafting and made some angels for the tree. Angels look like bats, right?

Only two time-outs were administered during the making of this ornament.

Angel's smiling face courtesy of Jamie. Jamie's red snowball face courtesy of Dad (accidentally I should add).

These ornaments are unlikely to make it to the tree as they insist on sleeping with them.

I think I might miss them a bit come Monday. But I am looking forward to an uninterrupted shower.