Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Happy Birthday

Four years ago today we were embarking on the start of our parenting journey.  Sitting in our living room in our flat in East London, where we lived at the time, we sat and stared at this little bundle without a clue about what to do and the most overwhelming feeling of responsibility hanging over us.

Today though, four years on, we still don't have a clue but we do cluelessness with confidence and finesse! It has been a lovely day of fun and games, presents and cake, balloons and dancing.

Our little girl is suddenly 4, about to head off to school and take on a small part of the world on her own.  Our clever, funny, kind, caring, bright little girl is growing up.

Although we are still a few years away from teenage tantrums yet!

She loved the gifts I made her - the pink ripple blanket (made using the neat ripple pattern from Attic24)...

And her own pink patchwork dog (made using the pattern from DS quilts, though slightly modified)...

I really love making these little dogs, I hand-sew them so they are perfect for cosy evenings on the sofa in front of the telly.  It's lovely to be able to choose the fabrics to suit the person you are making the dog for.  Needless to say this one had to have an abundance of pink!
Our big girl is now snoring away cuddling her bears, I just can't believe in just a few months her limbs will be even longer, her personality even stronger (hard to imagine it being stronger than it already is!) and her pre-school years behind her. 
For the next five or six months though she is still my little fact she always will be :)
Happy birthday Lillipops!

Monday, 29 March 2010

Getting ready for Easter...

I bought these colourful egg decorations in John Lewis.  I really loved the cheerful colour combinations.  especially the orange, green, yellow and blue above.

Lillia and I have been having fun hanging them around the house, brightening up the place.

Aren't they wonderfully spring-like?  Makes me smile just looking at them.  Eggs are traditionally used as a symbol of fertility and rebirth - new beginnings.  I like that :)

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Crochet flowers

I love crocheting flowers  I like that they are quick to complete and often fairly easy.  I've been happily using the Sarah London pattern that hubby bought me for mother's day to create lots of three-layered flowers.

Having created rather a lot of red flowers like the one above I decided to start playing with the colours in my stash...

And now I have a colourful happy little garden of flowers growing steadily in number!  I am soooo happy with this pattern, it was only a fiver for a start (not that I paid of course,it being a gift) and it is really easy to follow.  I am also really pleased that I eventually worked out I could change each layer to a different colour, it took me far too long to use my initiative on that particular point!

I am not sure where my cheery little flowers will end up, for now I am just happy to have a hooky distraction :)

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Happy Birthday hubby / It doesn't always go according to plan

I haven’t been able to post frequently lately as March and April is birthday season in the snipsnaphappy household. I think everyone I have ever met ever has a birthday in these two months. Well ok not everybody, but a lot of my immediate family and close friends. So there has been a lot of organising going on – arranging to meet up, buying gifts, having lunches, dinners, drinks, baking cakes, wrapping presents, making presents too of course.

At the same time my father went into hospital for an operation on his spine (he’s fine!) and we found out about Lillia’s primary school placement (she got our first choice!)  So things have been a little distracting.  Enough of the excuses though!  How about some cake?

 Thanks Nigella for this glorious old fashioned chocolate cake recipe!  I baked this for hubby's birthday (we won't say how old, just that he is older than me!) today and it is just divine.  Myum myum.

I also made him a "macho" handmade gift...

"Patch" is made entirely with scraps of organic cotton fabric.  I used a lovely pattern from DS Quilts and I chose dark colours, blues and greens etc. to make it a bit more butch!  Though I did manage to sneak in a little floral pink...

My finished dog isn't quite how it is supposed to be however.  There is supposed to be a strip of fabric runing between the two sides of patchwork but my rather questionable sewing skills left the dog a little wonky, a bit scary looking actually.  So I unpicked it and just sewed the two sides together for a less three-dimensional version!

And it came our rather well!  Not to plan but still really good.  Kind of like the story of me and hubby.  We've had to face things that we would never have planned for in a million years (hubby was diagnosed two years ago with the same autoimmune disease that I have had since I was 19 years old) but our life together is still really bloody good.

So happy birthday hubby, you always ask me if I am writing lengthy posts about how great you are..well you are! 

Oh, and I'm sorry about the girly wrapping paper, it's all I could find! 


Sunday, 21 March 2010

Second Toy Society drop!

We dropped our second toy for the Toy Society this morning! 

It was hard to get a decent photo as the light was pretty bad and we were in a rush to get away before we were spotted.

 We left Borisova on the back of the children's toilet cubicle in Bexleyheath mall in Kent, UK.

Bye bye Borisova!  I hope you find a good home...


Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Pink ripple blanket

I was going to post about some works in progress today, and even some other finished items (for once!) but instead I have something exciting to report...

I have finished Lillia's birthday ripple blanket!  Woo hoo!

I finally hooked my last stitch last night and I am so very pleased with it.  It is just the size for snuggling underneath, yet not too big to drag about the house from bed to sofa and back again when needed.

It is soft and ripply and snuggly and pink, all the things a four-year-old pink fanatic who loves her sleep requires. 

Then I spotted the My Place and Yours game over at Hello Owl (via Swirly Arts) and noticed that the theme was Pink, which seemed very fitting, so I continued to snap around the house...

With a four-year-girl in residence we do have an abundance of pink around the house, though this seems to be more from nature than nurture as we have never actively gone for pink things or encouraged a love of any one particular colour.  It seems she just woke up one day and decided that pink was the colour for her.

My favourite colour is yellow but I have to say the pink thing is pretty contagious.  Every so often I realise that pink is seeping into the things I am drawn to.  From little cards... pastry cutters hanging in the kitchen...

Pink is taking over!

My poor husband.  Good job he is in touch with his feminine side ;)

Monday, 15 March 2010

A week of creations

The power cable went on our laptop rendering it…well…powerless. This was, however, rather fortuitous as it forced me to stop gawping at the internet and get on with some proper creative time. We got the new cable yesterday so I am now reunited with blogger, my photos and the full excitement of t’internet once more, so here I am ready to share some of the products of my days away from the world wide web.

I have been having a lot of fun with felt...

I've been making some easter/spring-time themed items...

And basically have a lot of fun cracking on with making things...

I have also had time to make a start on a "manly" sewing project for hubby's birthday, I felt it was time he got something out of the hours I spend fussing about with fabrics...

I am rather excited about this particular project, but I can't reveal too much in case he checks in here and the surprise gets blown.  I just hope I can get this finished successfully and on time as it is a new technique to me, it requires lots of sewing in straight lines, which isn't my strong point!

I have also managed this week to tackle my first ever zip, very exciting!  I was rather pleased actually, I made a little zippered purse for Lillia...

On the outside I used a french quilting fabric that I picked up in Uzes last year, I love this fabric and I only have a small amount so I was happy to use it on something that will get played with every day.  For the lining I used organic cotton gingham from Gossypium...

I can't tell you how much I love this fabric, the colour is just lovely and it is so soft :)

I am hoping to able to get some good shots of finished things and more works in progress tomorrow when I have the time and the light.  All will be revealed soon enough! 

Sunday, 14 March 2010

A quick Happy Mother's Day...

Happy Mother's Day one and all - I hope all you mummies are being pampered, all you daddies are doing lots of pampering and all those lucky enough to have mummies are showing their appreciation today.  And to those without mummies I hope you have happy memories, or are able to cast aside bad ones because, lets face it, not everyone is lucky enough to have a decent mummy, some people have to put up with some right horrors. 

I am lucky enough to have a wonderful mummy, one who helps me in every aspect of my very busy life and is fully involved in the upbringing of her grandchild and has a tremendously positive influence on her.  So I am one of the lucky ones.  Here's my mummy in the 60s...

She was waaaaay cooler than I am!

Today I have been given leave to relax - stay in bed, mooch about, crochet and drink tea.  I have received some lovely cards and a couple of sweet little pressies.  Later we're cooking roast chicken for my mum and will no doubt drink much wine.

Apologies for my absence, I do have a decent excuse!  More from me tomorrow though. 

Happy mother's day everyone :)

Saturday, 6 March 2010

My first Toy Society experience

Today Lillia and I took Julia, one of my handmade matryoshka dolls, to Bluewater in Kent for our first Toy Society drop!

 I first came across the Toy Society back in October last year.  The idea is that you make or buy a toy, then package it up and leave it in a public place for somebody to find.  You put a note in with the toy so that the finder knows what is going on.  I can imagine how I would feel if I found one, it would restore my faith in human nature, so I have wanted to do this for a long time but time just always seems against me.  Last night though I packaged up Julia, cut out the note to go with her, popped her in a bag and got her all ready for her journey out into the world.

Then this morning hubby, Lillia and I drove to Bluewater for a spot of shopping and while we were there we found just the right spot.  I had been thinking of leaving her in the baby change area but then we came across a family toilet cubicle, one of those big enough to house both parents, buggies, bears and screaming children.

And it was there that we left Julia. 

You might notice that I have altered her mouth slightly.  She was looking far too stern before so I made her look a little more  friendly.

I do hope she has found a good home!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

I’ve been published!

I got some very unexpected exciting news a week or so of my mosaics has been published in a book!

When I first started this blog back in December 2008 mosaics were my number one crafty passion. Over the last year though the onset of arthritis has meant I have had to lay down my tile nippers temporarily in favour of crafts that are more gentle on the wrists. Not that I’m complaining, I love sewing and crochet and have been so enjoying learning how to work with fabrics and yarn. But I do miss mosaics a lot, I’ve never cleared away my jars of colourful tiles…

I've not stopped collecting broken china to incorporate into future mosaics…

Nor accepting donations from friends and family of accidentally smashed crockery and glass...

So you’re wondering how come I am a published mosaicist no? Well when I first got into mosaics and was trawling t’internet for inspiration and guidance I found a very talented community of mosaic artists on flickr. I joined the flickr Mosaic Challenge group to try and help me to stretch my skills a bit. Every month new challenges are announced and members create mosaics to a certain theme by a deadline, then vote for their favourite. One challenge was to create a mosaic that would be 6x6 inches with the theme of “swirls”. Here’s what I came up with…

(photo courtesy of Lin Schorr)

The wonderfully super-talented Lin Schorr (I am bowing down low here just mentioning her on my blog!) came up with the idea of everyone donating their swirly mosaics to be part of a large mosaic mural which could be donated to a hospital in the US. The response was quite amazing and Lin took delivery of individual mosaics from artists all over the world which she then set about piecing together to form two massive mosaic murals.

Want to see them?

Swirlendipity I

Swirlendipity II

(photos courtesy of Lin Schorr)

My mosaic, "pearly swirl", is part of Swirlendipity II (top row, third from left!) All that intricate mosaic work that surrounds the individual pieces was done by Lin…

(photo courtesy of Lin Schorr)

Isn’t it beautiful?

The two mosaics now adorn the walls of Providence Park Hospital in Michigan in the US, along with two further collaborative mosaics.  I am so proud to have been part of this I can't even tell you, not least because I have to spend so much bloomin' time in hospital myself, I know a mosaic or two on the walls would definitely brighten up my visits!

But the excitement doesn’t stop there. Brit Hammer's new book 'Breakout' features all these collaborative mosaic projects, and on page 131 the focus picture is…

*faint* MY mosaic. Well ok, my mosaic kind of centre and lots of other much better mosaics surrounding it, but still MY mosaic! In a book! Published!

This is sooo motivating for me. I suffer from such a lack of confidence about so much of the work I produce, so this is really an incredible boost. But most of all it really makes me want to take some tentative steps back into mosaics again. If anyone reading this is interested in trying mosaics I would highly recommend it as a satisfying and beautiful hobby, plus it’s really messy and involves playing with tools and glue, what could be better? Here’s some useful links for inspiration and advice:

To see more of Lin’s work:

To find inspiration on Flickr:

To buy Brit Hammer’s book:

Live in the UK and want to learn? I can highly recommend Martin Cheek’s courses in beautiful coastal Kent:
Read about my experience

And also Nathalie Vin’s London workshops which I thoroughly enjoyed:

All you really need to get started is an old plate or two to smash up, a pair of tile nippers for shaping your pieces (they start at about a fiver in B&Q), some kind of sturdy wooden substrate, some strong PVA glue and a pot of grout. Oh and some plasters, you’ll definitely need those.