Monday, 28 January 2013


Let's face it, January is a month that's a bit of a struggle. Christmas is over and done with, it's still dark and cold, and there are a whole thirty-one days of it. I know I shouldn't be wishing my life away, but I can't help feeling glad that January is coming to an end for another year, and the fact that it's getting dark at 5 rather than 4pm is definitely a cause for celebration.

So I'm trying to focus on the things that make January more enjoyable. For me these are:

Socialising with friends - especially if this involves playing games. And I'm not talking about nudge nudge games, I'm firmly in the good clean fun camp of card games and Scrabble.

Craft night - last Thursday I had a streaming cold and the last thing that I wanted to do was to go out in the cold after wrangling children all day. But I booted and scarfed myself and stomped off down the road (a bit of exercise too, bargain). Two hours in a warm room knitting and chatting and I was renewed and inspired. There's a bit of a quilt plan bubbling too, hence the photo.

Volunteering - I know this sounds a bit worthy, but I don't just volunteer because I'm a nice person, I really feel like I get something out of it too. I've been reading at the school three mornings a week and both the girls  I read with have moved up several levels (this is a big deal when you're six) and the pride they have in their achievements gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. Hurrah, I'm useful!

Plans - it's always good to have something to look forward to, so I've booked a short drawing course at Bristol Folkhouse, which starts after half term. And my mum is coming to stay when the children are off school, which always seems to make things run more smoothly.

Whilst mulling over this post I googled 'happiness' and discovered the Action for Happiness site. Now, I've had depression, and I'm not naive enough to think that it can be overcome by thinking happy thoughts, but a lot of it makes good sense. In particular the 10 keys to happier living, and I was pleased to see that my list matches up with theirs pretty well.

How's your January going?

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Hush a bye dolly

So as I posted recently, I've forbidden myself to buy any new craft supplies in January and to instead concentrate on projects that use what I already have. And so I give you... the Dolly Bed. It's for my youngest, who has just turned four. She has two dolls, one called Florence (pictured) and one called Nip Nip. Don't ask...

My daughter is funny and independent and quirky and all those wonderful things, but also at the moment we're going through what I like to call the Farking Horrible Fours. Like the Terrible Twos but more decibels and the fact that distraction no longer works. The paddies are few and far between, but when they do come they are legendary. Last night there was a difference of opinion over walking up stairs to bed and it didn't end well. Well, actually after a considerable amount of screaming, the poor girl admitted between sobs that she didn't know why she was crying and demanded a cuddle and a song, which is quite a sweet ending. Many choruses of You are My Sunshine later she finally agreed to put her pyjamas on and was suddenly back to her sunny self as if she hadn't been screaming and kicking with rage for the previous twenty minutes.

However, she has been very interested in the making process for this project, and has been making flattering noises, so I s'pose she's forgiven.

The bed itself is made from an old shoebox. I cut down the sides a little as when I first popped the doll in, it looked a little (a lot) like a doll in a coffin - not really the look I was aiming for. The header is made from half of the shoebox lid.

The mattress is made from a scrap of old sheet with a few layers of wadding left over from last year's rainbow quilt. Then I moved on to a mini quilt as a cover, which uses fabric I had left over from H's wedding bunting. I settled on a simple patchwork of squares which I machine sewed. I used a scrap of an old fleece blanket in the middle of the 'sandwich' as the wadding I had was too thick.

A fat quarter of mint green from the stash provided a backing.I really enjoyed hand-quilting this project, very satisfying and quite soothing. The edges are bound with some white woven tape, again left over from bunting production.

Somehow it's suddenly 3pm again, so I'm off to retrieve my offspring and maybe run through a few show tunes, we'll see how things pan out.

p.s. this project has just given me the itch to to a proper massive big quilt <plots> Watch this space...

Monday, 7 January 2013

Knitting Frenzy

Hands holding knitting needles
The arty shot is my husband trying to get a photo of me knitting on double-pointed needles. I'm fairly sure that my dad doesn't read this blog, so feel it's safe to report that I have just finished a pair of socks for his birthday on Wednesday.

The children had an inset day today so whilst I frantically knitted right up to the deadline, they made some birthday cards with varying amounts of glue and shiny stuff. Very much their own work... Then we made a special trip to the post office to send the parcel off, so things now are in the hands of the Royal Mail. Fingers crossed.

P.s. Yarn from the excellently named Sock Yarn Shop, natch.