Saturday, 31 July 2010

... two by two...

For many years I made Noah's Ark animals and sold them at Christmas parties.  They are just the right size to hang on a tree or even a hook or door handle.  I always stick to just elephants, giraffes and camels.

When I opened the shop I struggled to keep up with making stuff (as I had a full-time job too) so stopped making these for a while.  I still took samples along to parties and made them to order but found this really hard going as they are very time consuming to make so for the last couple of years I haven't made many.

I also like to try and come up with new things to sell at my parties as even though new people come along every year I still have a lot of my old customes and I don't want them to be disappointed by seeing the same things year after year.

I've been making a lot of new things recently ready for my parties but came across a load of fabric I used to use to make these animals and some angels I also used to make by the shedload.

I decided to make a pile ready for Christmas and here is my first batch!  Other colours to follow and this year I think I may make some in ivory linen for the first time - see how they go!

Giraffes are my favourite animals but I love the elephants in this range - these are the most popular (and take the longest to make!)

Each elephant ear is attached with a 'kiss' of embroidery thread.

I wanted them to resemble vintage toys on wheels that used to be pulled along so they all have mismatched buttons on their feet (front and back).

And here is my first batch of 'newborns' ready to be put away until October when my parties start.  Hopefully by then I will have managed to make them some more friends before they go off to their new homes.

I am linking this up to Funky Junk Interior's Saturday Night Special


Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Lily's Craft Bench

This old bench in the corner of our kitchen is where our children eat breakfast and the odd snack, where I have a cup of tea and chat with my husband while he cooks (yes, I know how lucky I am but he goes to work really early in the morning and is home way earlier than me plus I'm a terrible cook!) 
but mostly where Lily creates her works of art.

I've blogged about this bench before - I bought it on a day coach trip to London but had to leave it in the shop until I could figure out how to get it back to Wales - logistics never get in my way if I want something!

It was originally a lovely gray shade but it didn't go with my kitchen so I painted it in Farrow and Ball's White Tie oil eggshell to match my kitchen.  I left the inside the original colour (because I couldn't be bothered to paint the inside!).

It now holds Lily's craft supplies - colouring books to the left, pencils in the big blue box and tape/scissors etc in the small blue box, notepads to the front and paper and stickers on the right side.

She crafts every single day so it's not always this tidy!

My lovely old French cafe table is covered in felt pen at the moment - one of the hazards of having creative children! 

On the bead board wall opposite the bench hang my children's masterpieces such as this lovely family portrait.

By the way my husband doesn't have a flat top!

and this poster that she made so that my husband would remember to stop cooking her fish.  Yes, that is a picture of her throwing up!  Nice!


Funny story - a  couple of weeks ago my husband went fishing and came home proud as punch as he caught three quite big sea bass - he gave two away and cooked one in the oven for lunch.  Lily refused to eat it so had lunch with her friend who lives across the road - she much preferred what Hannah had and ate it all - yep, fish fingers!!

The basket below the bech holds her favourite pictures and creations ready for Mummy to edit (and keep for posterity) when it gets full.  The others get filed under B for bin!


Friday, 23 July 2010

Pottery Barn inspiration...

This post should be entitled Pottery Barn inspired pillow but I didn't want to scare you away with you all thinking 'oh god, no - not another pillow post!"

sorry but I've been trying to make a load to fill my etsy store so that I can concentrate on making Christmas decorations ready for my parties.

Last pillow post - I promise.

Last night I made this...

For some time I have been lusting after the Pottery Barn pillow shown in the picture below.  We don't have Pottery Barn in the UK so I'm stuffed!

I had some burlap left over from my pillows and some Christmas banners I've been making and it was just enough to make another pillow.

You know how it goes - mark off lines with freezer paper, paint stripes on with fabric paint..
I then hemmed the top and bottom leaving the ends open with the intention of adding snap fasteners underneath the buttons on both ends.  This didn't look right so I decided to put the pillow (I had bought last week for display purposes when photographing my pillows to list on etsy and which I now have to replace) inside and hem around it leaving a flap on each end.  The buttons were sewn onto the front flap and then I sewed the ends closed.

I love how it turned out but want to make two really big ones for my sofa's so I can get rid of all my other pillows and just have one really big long one down the middle - what do you think of that idea?

If you haven't come across freezer paper yet you are missing out - it is the best thing ever for making stencils to paint onto fabric.

so in the words of Tigger "TTFN"


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

I am SO in love...

...with my new aqua blue Ball Mason jar

I've been seeing these a lot on blogs and love their simplicity and moreover their colour

I have never seen one of these in the UK so resorted to buying one from the States on ebay and it arrived today

I was like a child at Christmas - it's just as beautiful as I thought it would be

I've warned my husband and children not to go near it - my idiot husband keeps pretending to drop it - if he does I'll be doing a post on divorce!

From America to Wales - what a well travelled Mason jar - I hope it likes it's new home!


Sunday, 18 July 2010

More pillows on Etsy

Life has been a bit hectic lately.  The end of school term is this week and from Wednesday the children will be off school until September.  This means school parties, trips, parents evenings etc.  Also my husband coaches my son's football team so they've had an end of season party and presentation day.  The days are just flying by!

I have managed to get a huge amount of holiday over the school break so out of 6 weeks I am only in work for one full week and for three days on three separate weeks.  The rest of the time I am off.  Yay!!  This is the most time I have ever taken off during the school holiday but I want to have some time to do things with the kids and also some time to make things ready to sell in my parties over the Christmas period.  With so much time off I won't feel guilty about spending the odd day sewing or painting and worry that I am neglecting my children!

I don't know if anyone else feels like this but I find it really hard to relax and unwind if there's an idea brewing in my head and feel almost guilty sitting down watching TV when I could be making something.  The last couple of nights I have stayed up til almost two in the morning making a few pillow to list on Etsy.  I'm on a roll now so am going to get on with making my Halloween decorations ready to list.

For now here are a couple of my new pillows:

Ivory linen ruffle pillow

Burlap French Market pillow


hope you like them!


Monday, 12 July 2010

And the winner is ....

Janet from Housepeepers

Congratulations to Janet who won all the lovely goodies I brought back from France with me.

Just e-mail me your address Janet and I'll get everything sent off to you this week!


Thank you all for entering


Sunday, 11 July 2010

New French pillows

I haven't posted much lately as I've been trying to make a few things to list on my Etsy store

I am going to keep this pillow for myself but am going to make another one the same to list on Etsy.

I kept seeing stencils for Reves Doux online but didn't like any of the fonts to made my own (I know that sweet dreams in French is 'fais de beaux reves' - not sure if this is spelt right - but Reves doux does look so much nicer on a pillow!)

This has an envelope back and was made out of vintage german mangle cloth - it is so soft and drapey - I just love it!

This is made out of new off white linen which has been washed and preshrunk and is lovely and soft

I painted the 'grain sack' lines on using fabric paint (the lines don't look straight in the pic but they are) and then transfered the print on over the top.

It think it has a real vintage look about it.

I'll be listing these on Etsy later today and hopefully a couple more if I can drag myself away from the computer to make some. 


Don't forget you have about 6 more hours to enter my giveaway.



Monday, 5 July 2010

Gorgeous giveaway from French Larkspur

Head on over to French Larkspur where Tracey is having an amazing giveaway of items made by Maria of Dreamy Whites to celebrate her one year bloggaversary!

I love Dreamy Whites so I really hope I win!


Don't forget you still have time to enter my French giveaway here

Good luck with both


Thursday, 1 July 2010

Lost in France ... and a Giveaway

We had a wonderful time in France.  The weather was beautiful and the house we stayed at was way beyond our expectations. 

The day we got to France we went to Mont St Michel.  This place is amazing.  The last time I went there was when I was about 11 or 12 - so about 20 (ahem 32/33) years ago. 

You climb up winding streets to the Abbey at the top and just look out across the beach surrounding it and the countryside beyond.  Tiny little streets and narrow lanes.  Mont St Michel was every bit as exciting as I remembered and my kids loved it.

After that we went on to stay at our hotel at Saint Malo on the northern coast.  The hotel was right on a little side street amongst beautiful old houses and backed right onto the sea front.

The next day we drove further south to 'our house'.

The house and grounds looked very similar to my house back home - I wish!

The owners called our house 'the cottage'

If this is a cottage I live in a garden shed!

Their manor house was built for King Louis XIV's mistress, Catherine de la Valliere and the nearby area was named after her - how cool is that?!

What a house. 

The pool was ours and we spent most days here other than a few day trips.
It was just lovely to get up, have a lazy breakfast then walk across the lawn to our pool.  My children spent so much time in the water they are still shrivelled!

The manor house and the cottage had 320 acres of grounds which included a cherry orchard behind our cottage and woods where 15 or so deer lived.  My husband saw deer a couple of times but I was still in bed when he did (around lunchtime I think!).  One deer did stumble through some bushes while we were eating al fresco one evening but scarpered as soon as he saw us so I did see a deer but really it was just a large shape moving fast out of the corner of my eye!

We went to an amazing zoo which had grizzly bears and polar bears and it was so amazing to see them.  The enclosures for the animals were really big and we all, especially the children, really had a great time there.  I won't bore you with animal pics you'll be glad to know!

The River Loire at Tours - at first glance driving into this city it looked quite nice but it wasn't anything special really and considering how fantastic the river looked there was rubbish everywhere plus a ton of drunks - nice!  I won't hurry there again.  Who needs the rough guide when you've got me?!

To get anywhere we avoided motorways as much as possible and took the country roads.  We drove through the most gorgeous little towns and villages - some so small that you drove straight in and out and weren't even mentioned on the map.  France really is beautiful and crumbling, falling down houses, which would look so grotty anywhere else, just manage to look so gorgeous here.

I was in my element - shutters everywhere and loads of them in the most gorgeous shades of greeny blue.

I rarely get a photo with both my children smiling or laughing at the same time.  This just goes to show how much they enjoyed themselves.

My niece in a bush - probably looking for something to eat as this child never stops eating!


for the GIVEAWAY

I was thinking of you all and bought a few things which I really liked - hopefully you will like them too..


1.  Leave a comment - one entry

2.  Become a follower (leave a comment letting me know you've become or already are a follower) - one entry

3.  Blog about this giveaway or mention it on your sidebar (another comment) - one entry


Breakdown of prizes:

(all greyish as this is very in in France)

twig heart
set of 6 pegs with little blackboards - lots of uses
little zinc magnet
lovely small footed bowl

single hook
and lastly a silly little bit of frou frou - a bling Eiffel Tower mobile phone charm

Winners will be drawn at random on Sunday 11th

Good luck all