Friday, 12 December 2014

Here and Now

Loving ~ having rediscovered candles. Hurrah for cosy warmth.

Eating ~ home made mince pies. I have made about 100 more for a Christmas party we are going to on Sunday.

Drinking ~ tea. A lot of tea.

Wearing ~ PVA glue down my jeans. We are glittering most things around here and there is a leak in the glue bottle because Big Trouble stabbed it with a pencil.

Wanting ~ The Smalls to be well. Two off school again today and this evening Big Trouble has ear ache.

Thinking ~ about how proud I am of Tall Girl. She can now play jingle bells on the piano using both hands AND she sang a solo in the school play.

Dreaming ~ of having a fully functioning open fire. The builders are going up to tackle the chimney on Monday...


Thursday, 11 December 2014


Once again Stitches and Seeds HQ has been struck down with the lurgy. This is the first day in two weeks that one or other of the Smalls has not been off school, and I still have to go up to school at lunch time to dispense cough medicine. Inevitably I have it too and am feeling very sorry for myself and slightly overwhelmed by the length of my to-do list. I have just ticked off 'order camera battery' because that is completely refusing to play and won't charge. Todays pics are therefore taken with the camera on my phone which is slightly pants.

Anyway enough doom and gloom. I really wanted to tell you about our advent project. On the 1st of December we realised that the Christmas box was in the loft, Daddy was at work and Mummy is too puny to carry the big ladder in from the outside loo and up the stairs. So the Advent calendars that we usually use were unavailable.

What to do, what to do? A Small needs something to build up the anticipation through advent!

Then in the nick of time I saw this post from The Beetle Shack and decided to shamelessly copy the idea. I thought you might enjoy the first 10 days of Advent...

1~ Santa keeps watch over an empty stable. He is obviously expecting someone because he has put the light on outside...

2~ Two reindeer and Mary have arrived.

3~ Santa has brought his magic purple dog along, plus there is a Christmas tree cactus in 3d outside the stable.

4~ Santa has parked up his sleigh outside the stable, a Christmas tree rocket approaches for landing and poor old Mary has given birth 20 days early and without any backup.

5~ A star appeared in the east and the heavenly host advanced party appeared on the roof and lo, Santa did have a purple boat for getting to Australia.

6~ Bethlehem is dusted in a light sprinkling of gold sparkly snow, the angel is showing off her new pink balloon with blue streamers, an elf has popped by to tend to the sleigh and Joseph has finally made it complete with 'look its me and I brought my own star!' jazz hands.

7~ The heavenly host are in the house and they are dressed to PARTY!

8~ Only one addition today, a single but very exciting looking parcel. The first of many?

9~ One wise man with an albino camel and a pink robe has brought a gift of gold.

10~ Definition of teamwork: Tall Girl very carefully draws a beautiful cow, and Big Trouble very carefully covers it in turquoise spots. Big Trouble draws and colours two beautiful round parcels and Tall Girl adds bows to the tops. Happy mummy.

I hope you are having fun preparing for Christmas.

Back soon.


Monday, 1 December 2014

Daddy's Train

Big Trouble is rather in awe of the fact that Daddy gets the train to work EVERY day, and since we got back in August he has been asking to go on Daddy's train to Edinburgh, so this weekend that is exactly what we did.

The walk along the river to the station is rather a nice one, but Big Trouble and Tall Girl chose not to walk, and skipped pretty much the whole way instead.

This is what we had really come for. The BIG wheel. Princes Street Gardens is filled at this time of year with a Christmas market and fair ground rides. It is all pretty well done, very overpriced and extremely jolly. The market part was too mobbed on a Sunday afternoon for the Smalls to get any pleasure from it, but they loved the big wheel which we went on immediately.

We escaped the madness and crowds and went to look at the view of the gardens from the castle esplanade.

Edinburgh really was showing off in the sun.

Then with a bit of time to kill before it got dark we went into the Museum of Childhood. We have never been here before, but it has been on my list for a while because it is free, reasonably uncrowded and I have heard good things.

It did not disappoint. Full of lots of funny looking old toys, with a few that you could play with, it was a great way to while away an hour.

Then back to Princes Street Gardens for the funfair and the lights.

Normally I hate funfairs with the loud pop music, ugly painted rides and seedy atmosphere, but this was completely different. Yes the music was loud and it was Christmassy, and if you worked there, would drive you insane, but the rides were all aimed at children, were clean and fresh with pleasant staff.

The Smalls were each allowed to chose one thing (Did I mention overpriced?) and they looked round everything before choosing very carefully.

Big trouble loved going on the cars with J. At each end of the little oval track it whipped you round the corner just fast enough.

Tall Girl tried the climbing wall and may be part goat. She whizzed up three times in quick succession.

Little man chose Santa's train which I went on with him. It was extremely sedate but he loved it.

Three tired and happy Smalls.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Shortbread stars and flowers

Well, it has been a funny old week here at stitches and seeds. I had high hopes of getting loads of stuff done in the garden, but it has rained all week. It has been quite demoralising really, but inspired by other bloggy souls I have remembered the joy of lighting candles and how much they improve the vibe on a driech day.

I also had company on Thursday and Friday. Little Man was just not himself, had a horrible headache and an iffy temperature. Once dosed up with calpol he was pretty good company though. We did a bit of sewing together and a lot of cutting out. (For a project I can't show you because it is a present but which is going to take quite a bit of making time.) 

We also washed out hands super carefully and baked, because if you bake, you have yummy treats! I was inspired to make little shortbread people by Lucy at Attic 24 so out came the cutters and DISASTER...

Not a person among them! How is it that kitchen-equipment-hoarder-extraordinaire that I am, I don't own a man, or a lady. Two sizes of christmas tree and three kinds of star, but no people. We even raided the play-dough cutters, but none there either.

Admitting defeat, we made stars and flowers instead, and they were delicious.

We only made a tiny amount of dough, with 1oz sugar, 2oz butter and 3oz flour, but it was enough for a couple of biscuits each for pudding. Perfect.

I think Santa may remedy the person cutter problem. He is good like that.


Friday, 21 November 2014

Just for a moment this morning...

...the sun peeped out from under the clouds and lit the town up with a gorgeous golden glow.

The last of the roses in my front garden shone and sparkled,


and all was right with the world.


Wednesday, 19 November 2014

We apologise for the interuption to service...

Hello hello
I so so so didn't mean to be away so long. Our laptop died a death and we have had to purchase new one (it's most distinguishing feature as far as I am concerned is that it is red), and pay a fortune to the good people at PC World to recover our photos etc from the old one. Back up your stuff people!
I also went away for a few days so couldn't blog and now I am back I have spent the majority of the morning working out how to install Picasa so it actually works and will upload my snaps. I think I might have succeeded. I was going to say I think I might have won, but I have lost at least two hours which doesn't feel like winning to me!
Anyway, thank you for all your kind comments about my Mrs Weasley cuffs. The computer failure also meant that I couldn't respond properly to your comments, but I will!
I went away to visit my Dad. While I was there I did a spot of making. No fabric or yarn this time though, mostly sweeties.
Want to see? Ta da! I made a gingerbread house for the Christmas window display of my Dad and Step Mum's shop.

Their food shop: Gillian's Tubs in Helston, Cornwall (did you see how seamlessly I slid in the plug?) is about to move across the road and become Gillian's Larder, with an expanded range of goods including fresh veg and a deli counter.

Once Gillian has added her little sprinkle of magic, it will be part of a snow scape with glitter, lolly pop trees and a warm glow coming from inside.

It was lovely fun, and nice to be able to do something useful while I was there.

Hopefully I'll be back really soon!


Friday, 7 November 2014

Crochet inspiration and a heroine for the modern woman

There has been a lot of chat recently about positive role models for girls in books and films. Pathetic princesses that hang about at the tops of towers waiting to be rescued are definitely out, and Hermione Granger and Pippi Longstocking are in. 

Well, I have been thinking about who are the heroines of the modern woman. Women like me who realise that the family unit cannot have it all. Someone has to cook, clean and be at the school gate at 3pm, and you either have to earn enough to pay someone else to do some or all of it, do it yourself, or your chap has to do it, and really any of those is a fine choice. In my world, I do it. I make the home, make the meals, remake the curtains, make presents for people. I don't make any money, but I save quite a bit (and spend quite a bit more as wisely as I can). 

So who is out there to stand for girls like me? Grown up girls who don't lack brains or ambition, but choose, at least for a while, to stay at home and be Mum. Molly Weasley, that's who. Seven Smalls, modest income, making the house, making Weasley jumpers for the people she loves, cooking and cleaning for the order of the phoenix, but totally up to the challenge when she is required to fight for what she believes in. 

So it is from Molly Weasley's unique and wonderful style that I have taken my inspiration for a little project I have been working on...

This is my coat. It was originally purchased from M&S, but I purchased it about three years ago from British Heart Foundation. I had finally shed my baby weight and was in need of a coat that was less like a tent. I was also just beginning to realise that I was allowed to wear colour rather than sludge, and that wearing colour might just make me happy.

(Speaking of colour, look I have new boots!)

I love my coat, it is warm, comfortable, fits really well, except... I have really long arms and coats are always too short in the arm. Cold wrists lead to cold hands which suck.

Also, I have been going off the buttons. Not because they are not to my taste, but because they seem to wear the thread inordinately quickly and I am forever having to sew them back on.

So the project: I made Molly Weasley inspired cuffs for my coat. They add even more colour, keep my wrists warm and make me very very happy.

I also changed the buttons. Bright green for the back,

and multi-coloured for the front.

I have had these buttons since I was eight when a sweet neighbour looked after me while my parents were packing up to move house. She amused me buy showing me the contents of her sewing box and let me have these buttons to take with me.

I have no idea even what her name was, but I have kept these buttons for thirty years, waiting for the right project to use them.

Sooo... Ta Da! I love love love my new-old coat!

Now, the more observant among you will have noticed that there are a few differences between my cuffs and the originals. The reason for this is that there is only one person who can do justice to the full, shoulder to fingertip, crocheted loveliness of the true Molly Weasley sleeve, and that is Molly herself. Not that that hasn't stopped others trying. (Google Molly Weasley sleeve and I think you will agree.)

So I have gone for a cuff, not a sleeve, lost most of the fullness and changed the colour pallet slightly to suit my taste.

I did however spend quite a large amount of time with the film on freeze frame so that I could study the colours and shapes in detail. About 12 minutes into Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets in case you are interested.