Thursday, 30 August 2012

Seat pads in the making....

Quite exciting, the next lot of fabric has arrived for my next projects! You can see the thick cosy red brushed cotton for making Jessica's Autimn/Winter nightdress; the Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric for jazzing up the plain fabric in her playroom and some fat quarters for making Christmassy things like bunting.

Yesterday, I made the ties for the seat pads. You can see here the 16 lengths which I folded

then folded again to make them neat. This all took a surprisingly long time, the whole of Jessica's nap.

In today's nap time, I just about finished the seat pads! I sewed all the pads, but spot the mistake..... I sewed the ties into the inside of the first pad which wasn't so clever. But then I repinned the other pads so that the ties came out on the right side! Doh!

Here, they are with all the machine sewing finished

And here they are, all stuffed.

I just need to finish off the holes for the stuffing by hand. I'm really pleased with how they have turned out, with all the patterns just about matching between the pads.

Oh, and my first order of Usborne books arrived today I just need to package them up ready to give to my friends who bought my first order!


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

I have been brave.


So as you may now from previous posts, I am a new gardener and I had Beechgrove Garden filming at the end of June. There was quite a lot of downtime between filming so George Anderson, the presenter, and I spent a lot of time chatting. I mainly used this time to get tips from him as to how to treat various plants. I had lots of overgrown shrubs and didn't know how to tackle them so that they didn't die.

His main advice was 'BE BRAVE'! So I was and have pruned them all down to practically bare stumps. Sunday was lovely and sunny and I knew that it would be my only chance for a while to be able to coordinate nice dry weather and my husband being around to look after Jessica. So I did it. I felt like the Queen in Alice in Wonderland - off with their heads!!


I now have a nude garden but we have so much space now. We will be able to control the speed and the shape of the shrubs which are all lovely but they had become very tired and overgrown. Now there is sun where there were shadows. Hopefully now, they will grow back with renewed vigour.....

As it was a holiday weekend, it rained if course yesterday! However, we didn't mind as we could just hunker down and relax into it. So we did absolutely nothing apart from stickers up in Jessica's room of flowers, butterflies and rainbows. It now looks like a little girl's room.

I did manage to cut out my seat pads and they are already to be sewn up now. Quite exciting, I'm so looking forward to having nice seat pads that don't slip all over the place and fall off the chair. They will definitely be finished this week.


Friday, 24 August 2012

I feel that Autumn is on its way.

So we had the chimney swept this morning and there is a slight chill in the air in the mornings now. I don't think we'll be lighting the fire this bank holiday weekend but I don't think we're too far off lighting it if an Indian summer doesn't materialise.

It's almost time for big cosy jumpers, the smell of rotting leaves in the air, bonfires and cosy nights with a bottle of wine by the fire. This is the reason I love living in a place with many seasons. Fair enough, Summer has been a washout but you can't really go wrong with Autumn and then before you know it we'll be into Winter and Christmas. Winter always drags at the end with the dark afternoons but the rejuvenation of Spring makes up for that with the lighter days and warm air returning.

So I had a go at shirring the sleeves of the nightdress today. It worked on the sample test piece I did but it wasn't so successful on the sleeves themselves. I'm not sure if maybe this was because the sleeves were less flexible as the hem was already in place and so more structured so there was less give or whether the elastic thread wasn't substantial enough. It's a great technique though and for her autumn nightdress I shall buy some proper elastic thread as I think it was a very lightweight thread that the local shop had and play around with the tensions on the sewing machine. I had a great tutorial for the shirring on the Make it Love it blog.

Here's the finished dress taken in the late evening sun, at 6.30pm we are already getting the long shadows, summer is on its way out. It's been a really enjoyable project, especially as it has been the very first thing I have made for Jessica. It was a very special moment when I dressed her in the nightdress tonight after bath time.
It's a bank holiday on Monday so I won't be posting then as it's family time. See you later in the week, have a great weekend!



Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The dress is almost finished.....

'Although we may get a lot to deal with, we never get more than we can handle' (anon)

So finally yesterday, I had some time to myself as Jessica was away having a lovely time with the childminder yesterday morning (who was amazed that she was walking so proficiently!). Sooooo, I started the raglan nightdress which I loved so much on the ikatbag blog! I spent the morning measuring and cutting out the pattern so that it would fit Jessica

and then I cut out the fabric. In the afternoon, I tackled the sewing which was so quick and easy that it took form really quickly.

Then ten minutes later,

It was only as I got to this stage of sewing the side seams that I remembered I was going to do long sleeves, oops!

But it doesn't matter as this was a really good trial run and I'll make a cosier one for her for the Autumn. This was it all pinned up ready to hem the sleeves and the bottom which I did by hand last night and it took forever. Next time I'm going to make a note to learn how to hem using the machine. It would make it so much quicker.

I'm off to have coffee with my NCT girls this afternoon so I'm going to buy some elastic to finish the neck and see if the local shop has some elastic thread for shirring the sleeves. Shirring is going to be a new technique that I'm going to be learning so let's see how I go once I have found some elastic thread!

Oh, and my husband tried to joke last night that Nutella had gone out of production - but totally didn't believe him as a, it's totally infeasible as its just the tastiest thing and b, it just wasn't funny! I know I'm gullible but I'm not that gullible. Tee hee!


Monday, 20 August 2012

A thousand apologies.....

'Each experience prepares us for the next' (anon)

A thousand apologies for not having posted for the last few days. I have been soooo busy! First of all, I have had my head deep in the accounts for a local bed and breakfast. It's all done now - for now! I'm sure when I have to do the next load of accounts next month so that I can file the VAT return I will have a similar period away from blogging But at least then it will be two months until the whole VAT cycle happens all over again! That's the not so interesting bit....

The second thing is that I have started selling Usborne books which is really exciting! They are brilliant children's books which are written so that they are fun and interesting so the children love them but they are also educational and well written so the parents love them too. They sell by people having parties and then you earn the commission from the books that are sold at the parties or by direct purchase from me. Because I have been involved in the accounts, I haven't put too much time into making contacts but hope that will change this week!

The third thing is that I did lots of gardening over the weekend. We have a wood at the back of the garden which is in a state of cultivated weeds! Bit by bit, I am trying to change this! As I have posted before, I had planted potatoes and I thought that the ones that we had not eaten yet had been affected by blight. So when I tackled trying to lift them this weekend, I was all set for disappointment but look at this:

I went from these sad rows of wilted foliage:

To lifting plants full of potatoes:

Halfway through!:

To my full harvest, how exciting:

I now have a clear patch ready for when my spring vegetable plug plants arrive:

You may recall that I also received some lavender plug plants a while ago and I thought it was time to plant them so that they can grow nice and big before the winter sets in. So I cleared the ground of weeds for where the new path will go and I planted the lavender down the side to edge the pathway:

I thought I would also show you the 'hedge' of sweet peas which is just giving me masses of lovely vases of flowers. One of the joys last week was introducing Jessica to the smell of sweet peas and see her little nose wrinkle with pleasure and wonder at what this new sensation was.

Also, I had planted lots of lily bulbs earlier in the year and I had almost given up on them but to my amazement they have started to flower:


so that's it for now but I'll be back later in the week! (oh and that raglan nightdress is going to be started tomorrow!)


Tuesday, 14 August 2012


'A family is a little world created by love' (anon)

Hurray! Today the fabric to make Jessica's nightdress arrived! I have been waiting for it for ages as I had problems with the first company I tried so I have been successful with Remnant Kings. Here it is:

It's such a lovely sweet little fabric for a night dress. I love reading the blog, Ikat Bag, and there is a brilliant pattern on there for a raglan night dress. I can't wait to give it a go but I might make the sleeves long to account for our Scottish autumns! Jessica is now growing out of her sleep suits and it will be great to pop a night dress over her head and avoid all the wriggles from putting her in her sleep suits!

At the moment I have my head deep in the accounts for a local bed and breakfast which I do the book keeping for so I'm hoping that I might be able to get stuck into this towards the end of the week. But you know what they say about best made plans.....



Friday, 10 August 2012

Sweet peas

Don't you just love the smell of sweet peas? This was the reason I wanted a garden. Intoxicating.



Thursday, 9 August 2012

Time to garden

'We have many alternatives at any moment' (anon)

So much for grand plans of sewing today! The power supply cut off at 3.30am this morning and hasn't been on since. We are very lucky to have lovely neighbours who I have been in touch with about the progress. As a result all the jobs I had to do which relied on electricity whether they be Internet based or sewing based (sewing machine and iron required) have been called to a grand halt.

Instead of blissfully sewing, I have been doing lots of other nice things which you forget to do because of the fast pace of Internet time. I made some chocolate cookies in the dying heat of the AGA as yes, our AGA also relies on electricity to drive the oil pump. These are all that are left.......



I properly dusted the house so it really is spick and span and I wrote a hand written letter.

With great timing, my winter vegetable plug plants arrived yesterday in the post and I was wondering when I was going to have time to plant them.

So I have been blissfully gardening instead of sewing. Last year, we bought some woodland behind our house and we are slowly starting to cultivating it. In the Spring, my dad merrytilled the clearing we had made around the well which we also have and then I planted potatoes and green manure.


We have been harvesting the potatoes and luckily the space created by the harvested potatoes is just enough for my winter veg.

So during Jessica's nap, I took the rake out to level the ground, weeded and planted my kale, purple sprouting broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. I'm pretty pleased with the result! We just need to go and get more netting so that the pigeons don't see it as a delicate feast and make some collars to go around the stems so that they don't get munched by the slugs and snails!

And here's a poppy which has self sown in the wood. One day I will call this a weed as they are self sowing all over the wood but for the time being I'm loving it being there amongst the potatoes.

The sun is shining and it's been a lovely day of unexpected power loss. But I must say, I'll be happy when it's back on and I can get the rest of my jobs done and cook supper!


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

I love Radio 2!!!

'I can change my direction at any time' (anon)

There you go, I've said it! I have never really explored Radio 2, maybe due to finding Jeremy Vine quite annoying. However, that has all changed! My husband's company sponsors the Borders Book Festival held in Melrose every year so we had tickets to take some clients along to it. We were a bit dubious about it but quite surprised at the speed that clients (or rather their wives) leapt at our offer. We thought it must have been the dinner beforehand that they were getting excited about it. I now completely understand and now that I have seen Jeremy Vine in person chatting through his book. He is GREAT!!

I now listen to Radio 2 back to back all through the day so I am a solid convert! My husband can't quite believe my fervour but when you get one of the presenters playing 'Diamonds are forever' by Shirley Bassey and then saying 'Bob Diamond is not forever' on the day that Bob Diamond resigned following the Barclays LIBOR bank scandal, that is just pure genius!! Maybe lost a little in translation but I was having a good chortle to myself.

It has been an epiphany on the same scale as finding the magazine RED! Last October I gave up on Grazia which is really for gals about town discussing celebrities, fashion, make up and diets. However, as I had a three month old baby and lived in rural East Lothian only occasionally hitting the streets of Edinburgh, I felt as though I was completely out of step with the target audience of Grazia! So on our holiday in October, my husband very patiently put up with my search for a new magazine to read and absorb. I tried all kinds even People Weekly and Readers Digest - I'm sure I might have a chance of identifying with them when I'm 70 (perhaps....)! In the end I found RED magazine which is just perfect for my stage in life. Again, my poor hubby has to put up with me saying 'I love this magazine, it just gets me' every time it pops through the letter box and I've just read an article I love.

There you go, there's an insight into the media I enjoy! No crafting yet this week, the problem about having an empty diary is that it soon fills up. Oh well, those seat pads will be done this week as I'm going nowhere and seeing no-one tomorrow so fingers crossed......

Monday, 6 August 2012

Well done Andy!

'No-one can make you feel inferior'

(Eleanor Roosevelt)


So Andy has done it!! He has won a final at Wimbledon against Federer in straight sets. What style. Hopefully this should boost his confidence and he can win Wimbledon next year.....! No pressure.....

We had a lovely weekend with old friends catching up over dinner on Saturday night in Edinburgh and then it was our NCT group's first birthday party for all our little ones on Sunday. We met at the NCT ante-natal classes last May when we were waddling around heavily pregnant, all got on very well and we have met every Wednesday since then. There are eight of us but nine babies (one set of twins)! I'm proud to call them my friends and it's lovely to see the babies being so comfortable with each other and all us mummies. A lovely bunch of girls. Quite scary though to see all our babies walking around and causing havoc. It was quite nice when they just stayed in one place! I don't think we can call them babies anymore, I think they have become toddlers.

I'm soooo looking forward to this week. The diary is clear, save for seeing some friends for coffee, I have some fabric supplies in the house so I am going to CREATE this week!! I'm so excited! I will of course let you know how I get on.


Friday, 3 August 2012

Disaster was averted....!

'The Chinese character for crisis is made up of two symbols - danger and opportunity' (anon)

Yesterday, I managed to wipe my Blackberry and it went back to factory settings. What a disaster.....! However after a few moments of panic I realised that all my contacts and emails were synchronised through my google account so after a call to the help desk that was all reinstated. I lost my texts but at isn't the end of the world.


I was most devastated by the fact that I had lost the photographs I have been taking of Jessica to send to my hubby at work. But luckily again, they were all saved on the media card in the phone so as I don't use the mobile for anything else, I was incredibly lucky. I did take the opportunity to change the home screen photograph to be of Jessica finding a very tasty sauce on a shelf that she can reach and she's tucking into it!


I take the dog for a walk every morning on the local beach. What a gorgeous morning it was today:

The sun was splitting the heavens over the Bass Rock and Fidra. Just love mornings like those.


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

To a wonderful team, my parents.

'To those who have a mother

Tender her with care

For you will never know the heartache

When she is no longer there'



This quote also obviously applies to fathers too! I had a lovely day at my parents' home yesterday celebrating their 47th wedding anniversary which is just mind blowing. They are such a great team together and take all manner of joy and troubles in their stride. If my hubby and I can get anywhere near 47 years marriage like my parents then we will have had a very happy life together.

We soaked up the sun and had fun. We also saw Jessica's godmother and her family of four just preparing to go camping for five days, hoping they will have good weather! I have just had some of the eggs she gave me from her hens for lunch. Absolutely delicious. We are hoping to get our own hens next year, watch this space!

Apologies for lack of photos today. I would have had a cracker of a photo but didn't have my camera with me. At the weekend, we watched the Red Arrows carve amazing shapes in the air and valley below our house for twenty minutes. They were putting on a display for the local Air Show but our viewing point was amazing to see how they used the landscape. Lesson learned to always carry a camera with me!