A very merry post Xmas to you – JBW love

Hello there

Hope that you all had a lovely festive season – we did despite colds and flu for all of us at some point over the time but we all had a lovely time if very hectic. Everyone has gone now (there were 8 people and a very cute dog in the house for all of Xmas with 13 on Boxing Day so it was very busy and lively) – since then I have mainly being lying on the sofa knitting and stitching – ahh bliss! I had lots of very lovely pressies – lots of books and lots of DVDs to watch while I stitch and knit.

I will start with pics of the festivities – my sister and her kids Sam and Sarah joined us this year as well as my Mum and Nana as it was Sam’s 18th birthday on Christmas Eve so we had a festive bar-b-que at my brother’s house (he likes fires!). I did not get a good pic of Sam blowing out his sparkler candles but here is a slightly fuzzy one of the cake I made him – the sparklers spelled out his name.

Sam's cake
Sam's cake - a very yummy spiced choc cake from Sainsbury's magazine

 I spent a lot of time cooking and tried out some of my new recipes and had a great time – here is the Xmas dinner table with my new table decs, as well as the little fabric trees that I made I had bought some silver tree name place holders and a new gold table runner from Spain so was very pleased with the way that it all looked.

Xmas dinner table
My Mum bought me those lovely gold flower candles which were just perfect for the table

My lovely sister-in-law Amanda , who is also a big JBW Designs fan,  stitched me a card for Xmas and guess what she chose? The reindeer that I have just made two of for my aunt and cousin – I have made him into an ornie so he can hang on the tree again next year as well.

Reindeer from Amanda 1
Isn't he cute - that is so good as I was planning to stitch him for myself anyway


Reindeer from Amanda 2
The back of the reindeer ornie - fabric from this year's Xmas stash

She has also lent me some of her JBW patterns so that I can make more ornies – think I will start on the top tree next.

JBW from Amanda
3 Xmas designs, a cute cat and the autumn pumpkin

I have already started on my next lot of ornies – I completed one before Xmas and one just after – these are from the new JBW Designs stocking sets that I treated myself to just before Xmas. One is for my Mum but is hanging on my tree at the moment for safe keeping!

JBW Stockings 1
This week's stitches - the one on the left is for Mum


JBW Stockings 2
The backing fabric - more of my new stash


JBW stocking on tree
It looks even better on the tree!

I am really enjoying these as they are so cute and quick to stitch. They are only about 2″ high.

Have cast on for the last little bit of gift knitting – a purple hat in Sublime which needs to be finished by the end of next week along with the matching wristwarmers. Good job I am not doing anything much for the next few days! I will probably be having a very quiet New Year – the kids are out but I am still full of cold so am planning a night in with the telly and my crafting!

Hope that you have a lovely time whatever you do and wishing you all a very happy 2011!

Thanks for visiting.

Nearly there!

Well have just finished and uploaded the Xmas newsletter, was great fun deciding which of our many pics to put up. Have been making spiced pear pickle this afternoon to give as a homemade Xmas gift so the house smells very lovely. We had our Xmas party last night which was great fun, Ellie got home just in time before Birmingham station was closed due to snow.

I finished the tree skirt off on Friday so thought I would show you some pics of that.

I cut round a circular mat I have to give me the pattern – I used some red cotton that I had in my stash – then folded this into 16 to give me the template for each piece. I cut a slit in the backing fabric so that I could put it round the tree.I used eight different Xmas fabrics, cutting two segments from each and ironed bondaweb on to the backing fabric then ironed all sixteen pieces on evenly spaced. I then cut a small hole in the centre and zigzagged over all the joins. I didn’t put any wadding between the layers though you could if you wanted it thicker.

Tree skirt WIP
The tree skirt with the centre hole cut out

I then hemmed  it all and added a ribbon and voila here it is under the tree!

Tree skirt finished
It looks very pretty - just waiting for the pressies now!

I have taken a couple more pics of the tree just to show you a couple more of my unique ornies. Here is one that I did show you last year – an exchange that I got from the USA,  it got delayed due to bad weather so never made it to the tree but here it is this year.

Joy Xmas ornie
A beautiful hand stitched ornie from Marlene
The pic below is one of my new crop of baubles for this season – I love making these!
green bauble
A new addition for this year

 As I mentioned in my last post I want to stitch more ornies next year so I have ordered these three below from Sew and So  – I still have another two that I ordered previously that I have not made yet, a tree and an Xmas pudding and am also going to make myself versions of the lovely ornies I have given away over the last few years. My aim is to complete one a month during 2011 so I will be posting details of how I get on over the year. Once I have finished sorting out the house for Xmas I will snuggle down on the sofa with some mulled wine and make a start!

New JBW ornies
My new JBW ornies

Well I do hope you have nearly finished your preparations for the festive season. We have got a packed week planned, with visits to the cinema and to an exhibition at the Trafford centre of replicas from Tutankhamun’s tomb, then all the relatives arrive Weds and Thurs for the duration. In between I have a whole lot of marking to do!

Hope you have a very, very lovely Xmas with lots of time for relaxing and crafting. Ellie and I plan to do nothing in between Xmas and New Year except sit, knit and watch girlie movies – heaven!

Thanks for visiting.

Giveaway winner and a few more Xmas finishes

Apologies for not posting about the giveaway sooner, I have had a very hectic weekend and have been working lots and very little time for the fun things in life. Thankfully term is nearly at its end and we now get the bliss that is Christmas holidays with lots of crafting. I do intend to spend an awful lot of this holiday knitting and I have just signed up to do a charity quilt through the Quilt Guild for a local children’s hospice. Don’t have much (or anything really) in the way of kids’ fabric so will have to treat myself to some stash.

Anyway the winner of the 3 year blogaversary giveaway is Elmsley Rose! Please mail me at alison.gorf@yahoo.co.uk with your address and I can send you your goodies. I am going to the post office on Thurs so if you see this before then I can post them then, they may not get to you before Xmas but they will keep!

I have been enjoying the warmer weather here – no snow and spent a very lovely time yesterday decorating the house for Xmas. It took me ages as I just pottered around moving things here and there and trying to decide where best to put everything. I have some new ornies this year as I have made myself some new pine cones and baubles to keep and some little Xmas tree pots. I have also finished the Xmas hanging so that will go up in the hallway later in the week (just need the curtain rod to hang it from.) I machine pieced this then hand quilted it with metallic thread (not a good idea it breaks way too much) them added some of my little brass charms.

Xmas quilt hanging
Jacob very kindly held it up for me!


Xmas quilt hanging 2
Detail of one of the brass charms on the quilt

Some of the  tree pots are in the dining room which has gold and silver colour scheme. These two will be used on the table on Xmas day – they are the same size it is just the perspective!

Xmas tree pots - gold
Look no snow!

The others are on the mantelpiece in the lounge along with the mini poinsettia which started it all (the surplus gold pots that I have acquired over the years). Apologies for the quality of the pics – the light was not good as it is a north facing room.I made one of these last year but the matching one took a year to get finished!

Xmas tree pots - multi
The festive mantel

 I have also finished some cross stitched ornies- have only done two of these this year due to getting sidetracked by the delights of patchwork! These are from JBW designs  and I have added a little charm I bought last Feb in a bead shop in Leeds. I have just been to the web site at Sew and So to add the link for JBW and have seen that they have some new stocking designs. I do love their designs so much, I still have a tree and a plum pudding that I have not done yet but am going to set myself a goal of doing one Xmas ornie a month next year so that I can have another 12 for my tree, as I was decorating it yesterday I was wishing that everything on it was handmade rather than mass-produced baubles so will add to my stock.

Reindeer ornie 1
Reindeer ornie showing back and front


Reindeer ornies 2
Detail of ornie showing the charm

My camera is behaving very well at the moment (if the light is ok ) and the pictures are very clear. It must know it’s on its on way out as I have ordered a new one (though will keep it as a spare as am very accident prone with cameras).

Have also started a new project that needs to be done for Xmas (because of course I have loads of time!). I have lost the skirt for the Xmas tree – not that I liked it anyway as it was very polyester and shed glitter everywhere, I may well have thrown it out last year meaning to make another one before this Xmas (oops!)

So this evening before Quilt Guild I cut out another one, I was a bit stuck what to use as a pattern until I remembered that I have a small circular rug so cut a circle a little bigger than that and divided it into 16 and cut out 16 triangles of Xmas fabric (lucky I have some you see for just this type of emergency!). Did not get chance to sew it together as I need more Bondaweb which I will get later this week.

Am aiming to get this made by Friday! I mean this Friday as we are having Xmas party on Sat – not that anyone will notice bare legs on the tree but if not will get it done Sunday as there is the little matter of party food to prepare, yes Mum is going to Iceland for some of it (the little mini fish and chip cones at Ellen’s request) but the rest will be all home-made so I shall have to get cracking!

Well have a lovely week and once again thanks for visiting.

My first Craft Fair

Well I am back from Oakwell Hall and it was a great success. I have spent all day sitting in the lovely barn with lots of other crafty people, I have finished hand quilting my Xmas hanging while talking to lots of lovely people and selling my stuff. So all in all a great day.

The hall looked beautiful this morning in the winter sun.

hall 1
Isn't that pretty!

We were in the barn which is used for wedding receptions – my first customer was one of the bridal party (don’t know if she was actually the bride) who bought two baubles. In terms of what sold it was very interesting as I only sold one complete tree. Lots of people admired them and took the tree part off to look underneath which I think confused them as a couple asked if it was for a candle (which you could do after but not while the tree is on the top!). I think next time I make them I will try to use twigs in a piece of sawn off log so they look more tree like.

Barn 1
The barn with the yummy cake stall behind me!

It could have been the price, it is always difficult to know what the charge for hand- made goods as I had to factor in the cost of the pot, charm, fabric and time so I priced them at £4. Maybe that was a bit high, I could have reduced them but I wasn’t that worried about selling any more of them as I need lots to give to people this year as their Xmas card and if I’d sold all of these I would just have to make more.

I did sell quite a few kits, all but one of the stockings – could have sold more of the little ones as 5 went in one go, half the gift bags and about half the baubles and pine cones so another donation will be going to Community Action Nepal.

It was a very good experience seeing how people react and what else people are selling at events like this.  There was only one other person selling ornaments and she didn’t sell that much of her stock , she had lots of lovely padded ornies and hangings. There were two fab cake stalls there, one selling Xmas cup cakes and the other more traditional mince pies and Xmas cakes and lots of jewllery/ handbag and gift stalls.

Stall 1
My tree pots and kits on display
Stall 2
The baubles and cones on my mini tree - the lady in the Santa oufit was the one with the cup cakes!
Stall 3
Little gift bags and more cones and baubles

For a copy of the instructions to make the tree please click on the link below, this will open up as a printable Word file with colour pics.

Xmas tree ornie instructions

Altogether a lovely day.

Thanks for visiting and don’t forget to comment on my blogaversary post to enter the giveaway – I will be picking a winner next Thurs the 9th.

All ready to go!

Well the craft fair at Oakwell Hall  tomorrow is still on (fingers crossed there will be no more snow!). The show is melting at the moment so huge chunks of ice are falling off the gutters which is a bit alarming but so far all seems well (i.e. no holes in new conservatory roof!)

I have spent the day finishing off the last of my stock, printing off the instructions for the ornament kits and packing everything up to go. I am very excited as this is my first proper venture selling my designs. I have done a craft fair before at Scouts to sell my ornies to fundraise for Project Nepal and sold them at work for the same reason but it will be nice to see if people like the things that I have made as well.

Yesterday evening and today I made two batches of little Xmas stocking backed with felt. The little ones are meant to be just tree decorations but I thought the bigger ones could be used for giving Xmas gifts of money – they can be hung on the tree as well but I though they might be more festive than the cards and envelopes you can buy for that.

Xmas stockings 1
Just need to sew the hanging tags on the little ones tonight
Xmas stockings 2
A close up of the money gift stocking

 I did promise myself that by the end of the year I wanted to design something and have a pattern published – well this is not really publishing but I have put together the instruction sheets with all pics all by myself so it sort of fits!

Ornie kit
I have made 10 little kits with everything needed except the pot!

I am very pleased to be doing this (not only as it has given me a chance to play with loads of lovely Xmas fabric) as it has been a dream for a while to be able to run a textile creation business. I was hoping to do that a couple of years ago but life got in the way but if I can do bits and pieces that makes me very happy. I spend lots of time looking at blogs like Hen House  and wishing I could craft full-time (not that the job isn’t lovely but playing with fabric all day would be heaven!). However one day it will happen.

I don’t think I can add downloads onto this blog but if anyone wants a copy of the instructions for the Xmas Trees pot ornie  (it is a Word file) then please leave me a comment with your e-mail address and will send you one.

Will take lots of pics at the craft fair so that you can see my little stall – I do love Xmas!

Thanks for visiting and don’t forget to leave a comment on my blogaversay post to win some Xmas goodies.

3 year Blogaversary giveaway!

Have just been and checked and it is today – the first post on this blog was the 2nd Dec 2007.

A lot has happened since then in my blogging world , I have made some lovely new virtual friends and have thoroughly enjoyed meeting new people from all over the world. I am now getting around 4,000 visits a month thanks to all the lovely people who have put links to me on their blogs.Have spent far too much time reading all the links I have found on other people’s blogs and marvelling at all of the loveliness out there.Thank you blogging world for all the fun!

So to celebrate I am going to do a giveaway. Since it is the season for it and you all know how much I like them the giveaway will be a selection of Xmas ornies and fabric.

If you want to enter please leave me a comment – I will pick the winner a week from today on the 9th Dec to give me time to catch the last parcel posting date.

Thanks as always for visiting.

Icicles and Christmas trees

Well like the rest of the UK we have lots and lots of snow! I have just logged on to the WordPress site to do this post and they have virtual snow on the page – not that we really need that as we have about a foot of it outside. As usual it has caused endless disruption at work and home – though lovely son Jake is very happy that college has been cancelled for the last three days and he has been able to stay in his room in the warm playing on his computer!

Regular readers will have seen lots of pics of my garden in the snow so I am not going to post any more of those – suffice to say it is looking a lot prettier as the snow is covering up all the dead leaves! We have a new addition this Winter though as these amazing icicles have grown on the new conservatory roof. They must be about 3 foot long!

Winter sun this morning - picture taken through the doors as snow is so high I can't open them!

I have been busy finishing my things for the Xmas Craft Fair this weekend at Oakwell Hall . I am concerned that it might not be able to go ahead though because of the weather as lots of stuff is being cancelled. If so I am going to have a lot of little trees, baubles and pine cones going spare!

Here are the ones I have finished this week in their little pots – they just need the snowflake charms sewing on the top which I will do this evening. I have had to go with a range of pots as I couldn’t find many gold ones – these are a selection of votive holders that Ellie I and found by scouring all our local pound shops. I think that the red ones look really pretty as well, especially the ones with the snowflake design which were from Poundland.

Xmas tree pot forest 2
A little Xmas tree forest - I love all this fabric!
Xmas tree pot forest
Our selection of little candle holder pots

 I have great plans for ornie making for next year. I have made some more Xmas gift bags for this year using some ‘labels’ fabric which matches some of my other Xmas fabric which have worked really well and am thinking of extending this to make some quilted Xmas stockings.

Xmas bags 2
The newest gift bags - thanks to Ellie for sewing on all of the ties

Have just taken delivery of a lovely new book (and of course I needed more craft books kids!)  on Redwork called Redwork Twitterings by Pearl Louise Krush which has given me some good ideas. She has a quilt shop in the USA that I would love to visit as it looks so cute. Here are the pics on her Thimble Cottage web site . I would like to design some of my own redwork and incorporate that into some pieces.

Redwork book 1
Look at that - Xmas fabric and embroidery - heaven!

Looking on the bright side I do now have more crafting time because of the weather as a social event I was going to and cooking for has been cancelled and if the craft fair doesn’t go ahead I will have all of Sunday for textile loveliness – might do something with my new Xmas fabric – make it feel love and wanted!

Hope you are all keeping warm and coping with the weather where you are.

Thanks for visiting.