Sunday 28 December 2014

Competitive Cakes

Since our boys were little it has been a tradition in our family that they decorate the Christmas cake on Christmas Eve.  Even when they moved away from home, first to University and then to employment, cake decorating on Christmas Eve was still mandatory :)

The cakes started out with traditional themes like polar bears and Santa's but in recent years they have gone a bit "off-piste" with the Elvis year being a particularly memorable cake!

This year, with the three of them living away from home and two of them now married there were some changes afoot in the tradition.

So, during December I made them each a plain Christmas Cake and delivered them complete with packets of coloured icing and left them to their own devices.

Here's what happened next!

Middle Son and his wife went for a Cool Runnings theme for their cake

So we have Santa careering down a Bobsleigh run jettisoning presents right, left and centre! (If you haven't seen it, Cool Runnings is a brilliant film about the Jamaican Olympic Bobsleigh team)

Youngest Son went for a completely different tack altogether and opted for a Game of Thrones-themed cake!

Naturally, being a Northerner, it is a House Stark cake because Christmas is Coming. (For those of you not acquainted with Game of Thrones, the motto of House Stark, who rule over the lands in the North, is Winter is Coming)

Finally, our Eldest Son and his wife got their act together and decorated their cake. Being big Game of Thrones fans too, they went for a similar theme. Living and working in the South now, our Eldest chose to ignore his Northern heritage and opted instead to represent a Southern power, House Baratheon! Their motto "Ours is the Fury" needed a bit of tweaking though, so it became "Ours is the Christmas" which suits that stag much better I think.

So, it looks like we have a new family tradition in the making :)

Needless to say, being boys, there was an element of competitiveness in the unveiling, so I promised them all that I would post the photos on my blog and ask readers to vote for their favourite. Naturally I couldn't choose between them :)

Thursday 25 December 2014

New to Me in December

Merry Christmas, I hope that wherever you are and whoever you are with you are having a great day.

Welcome to the last New to Me Link party of 2014

Time to celebrate all those new to you activities that you have tried out this month.

Surprisingly my New to Me activities are actually sewing-related this month :)

STQB November block

My first attempt at partial seams for Nicky's Siblings Together Quilting Bee block

My very first Hawaiian Applique block! The needleturn applique took forever!

Pay it Forward 3

My first QAYG pouch, my Pay it Forward gift to Nessa

and a really special New to Me

An early present from me to me :)

So that's my New to Me this month, now it is your turn to share all the fascinating things that you have been up to in December. As ever please help to spread the word by linking back to this post in your post and/or adding the blog button to your sidebar.

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Check out the other links and leave a comment along the way. The emphasis of this link party is to celebrate the trying of something new, whether it works out exactly as planned or not, so a little encouragement here and there would not go amiss! 

The link will remain open until 23.59GMT on December 31st, so you have plenty of time to try something new and link up and join the party :)

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Last of the last minute gifts!

Isn't there always a need for a quick, last minute gift no matter how organised you are??

Here is what I have rustled up today

Cranberry Spiced Sugar

Spiced sugar jar for a baking friend and last minute invitation. Simplicity itself with layers of dried cranberries, sugar and cinnamon sticks!

Wine Glass charms

Another set of wine glass charms to accompany a wine bottle gift

Christmas Earrings

And Christmas Earrings for my d-i-l and fellow Christmas market traveller :)

They took me all of about 10 minutes and most of that was spent hunting for the cinnamon sticks :)

If you have been rustling up any last minute gifts, don't forget to link them up to this month's

The Link Party is hosted this month by the lovely Marie

Merry Christmas one and all!

Monday 22 December 2014

Snowballs and Seams

In a bid to catch up with my Bee commitments before the family arrive and chaos ensues I have been tackling some old and new favourite blocks.

First up the appropriately named Snowball block for Hannah in the Siblings Together Quilting Bee

STQB December block
Hannah asked for blocks in blue, aqua or green so this should fit the bill.

Next up a rainbow block for Sarah in the Fat Stash Brit Bee

I had never tried a stacked coin block before and have to confess that I did have to redo one of the strips as the rainbow coin ended up levitating in mid-air rather than stacking! Aside from that small hiccough it was fun to put together. 

My final block, I am ashamed to admit was due in November and whilst holidays and present delivering around the country was part of the reason for the delay it wasn't the entire reason. 

Nicky asked the  Siblings Together Quilting Bee members to create a block that called for sewing a partial seam. Having never attempted partial seams before I was a bit wary of the block, so procrastinated for quite a while before finally managing to put aside enough time to get my head around joining up half-stitched seams. 

Thankfully, it all worked out rather easier than I had anticipated and here is the result. 

STQB November block
I am not so sure that I would be up for making a quilt load of partial seam blocks, but I am delighted to have finally attempted and, if not mastered at least overcome the fear of partial seams!

Please tell me that I am not the only one who was wary of attempting blocks with partial seams :)

Linking up to

 Quilter in the Closet

Friday 19 December 2014

A Christmas Round-up

The final Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party for 2014 opened yesterday and if you haven't already do check out Marie's lovely Reindeer Table Runner here

So, I thought it was a good time to provide a round-up of all the great tutorials that have been provided over the year, just in case there is anyone out there who isn't yet organised for Christmas :)

Here it is, a whole year's worth of inspiring projects!

January: Handmade Christmas Tree Decorations by Paula at Mud, Pies and Pins
February: Coffee Lovers gift set by Fiona at Celtic Thistle Stitches
March: Easy pyramid egg warmer  by Karen at Easy Patchwork
April: Christmas Stockings by Karen at Practically Pippy
May: Upcycled tie pouch by Sian at buttons and paints
June: Fabric gift bag by Martha at Weekend Doings
July: Fabric Advent Chain by Nicole at Modern Handcraft
August: Santa's Belt paper-pieced pattern by Erin at Missy Mac Creations
September: Santa and Sleigh Lampshade by Fiona at Celtic Thistle Stitches
October: Christmas Tree Ornament/Pin Cushion by Janine at Rainbow Hare Quilts
November: Christmas Gift Wrap sack by Joanne at Rose & Dahlia
December: Reindeer Table Runner by Marie at Quilts with Personality

If you do make any of the projects above or, indeed, any handmade Christmas or Holiday gift this month don't forget to link it up to the December link party over at Quilts with Personality to be in with a chance of winning one of our great giveaways. 

Amitie Gift Voucher
Thanks to all of our wonderful Link Party hostesses over the year, we couldn't have done this without you!

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts

Thursday 18 December 2014

Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew in December

It is finally December and time for all of the lovely linkers to our monthly link party to pat themselves on the back and put their feet up for a well-earned rest!

 If, however, that isn't quite the scenario in your sewing room fear not, there is still time for some last minute gift making to fulfil that creative urge.

This month's link party is hosted by the lovely Marie who blogs at Quilts with Personality , check out her beautiful Winding Ways quilt if you are looking for inspiration for a holiday quilt for 2015. Marie is sharing her tutorial for a gorgeous Christmas Runner too, so definitely worth popping over to have a look :)

If you are new to the party, let me fill you in on the details. Paula and I decided at the end of last year that Christmas 2014 was going to be different, this time round there would be no late-night sewing sessions or frantic last-minute dashes to the Post Office. This time we were going to work on Christmas and Holiday projects throughout the year so come December we would be so organised we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves :)

We decided to share our plans with our blogging friends and invite them to be organised too, with a monthly Link Party to provide a gentle nudge. As ever we have a lovely incentive for you to get crafting and linking and this time we have not one but two giveaway prizes.

A copy of the brilliant Katy Jones book that will no doubt be a great inspiration for all the Bee blockers out there and, courtesy of the lovely Marie and Amitie Textiles a AU$30 voucher to spend at Amitie Textiles.  So, if you have always hankered after one of Jen Kingwell's fabulous patterns then this could be your lucky day!

The winner of November's giveaway was the novelty pouch factory otherwise known as Sandra Sews

My own Christmas making this month has been of the edible variety than the textile.

For years my sons and then their girlfriends/wives have been responsible for the decorations on our Christmas Cake. Fierce rivalry, not to mention clouds of icing sugar, were involved in creating icing nativity scenes, polar bears and on one memorable year a Christmas Elvis!

Sadly this year only one son will be at home to decorate the cake, so I decided that if they couldn't come to the cake then the cake would come to them. 

 So much of this month has been spent baking, marzipanning (?) and icing a plain white Christmas Cake. Then delivering the same to the missing sons and wives in time for them to be ready to decorate for a grand unveiling by Skype on Christmas Day. A new tradition, hopefully, in the making.

If I was making Christmas cakes I might as well buy more fruit and make a Christmas pudding whilst I was at it. This year it is wrapped up in a Santa linen tea towel but next year I think there might be some applique in the process :)

So, that is what I have been up to now it is your turn to show off your Christmas and Holiday makes for this month. Head on over to Marie and link them up to be in with a chance of winning one of those prizes! The link party will be open as always until the end of the month so even if your makes are really last-minute there is still a chance to link up :)

As always a big thank you to all of our generous sponsors, we couldn't have provided all of the great giveaway prizes throughout the year without them.

Fluffy Sheep QuiltingQuilting Fabric at the Fat Quarter ShopPlush Addict LogoQuiet PlayRay Stitch HaberdasheryPosie: Patterns and Kits to Stitch by Alicia PaulsonBackstitch


Sunday 7 December 2014

More nagging wives!

A few weeks ago I posted about the village of Chiddingstone with its' Chiding stone for nagging wives. Well, here is how nagging wives are dealt with in Bermuda!

Gossip board

First they hang this board around their neck, just in case they are not sure of the accusation made against them!

Then they put them on the ducking stool. You can see where this is going can't you!

Ducking stool2
Then they duck them!

Ducking stool3 

If they happen to voice any disagreement about the punishment, well then

Ducking stool2

they just duck them again!!

Seems like Bermuda wasn't the paradise it was cracked up to be :)

Saturday 6 December 2014

Come in Number Three!

I was beginning to get a bit worried but I am relieved to find that my third Pay it Forward parcel has now arrived at its' destination! Phew!!

Pay it Forward 3

I have been wanting to try making a QAYG pouch for a while now, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to scratch that itch :)

The instructions for the pouch have been gathering (virtual) dust on one of my Pinterest boards so it is nice to have also made a pinned project too. The instructions are available here if you would like to give them a go. 

Can you tell that Nessa's favourite colour is green??

Oh and here's the photo of the front of Jo's pouch that I couldn't find yesterday!

Pay it Forward pouch front

If you would like to join in the Pay it Forward fun too, head on over to Nessa's Place where Nessa is looking for three more volunteers to take part. All the details you need to participate are on Nessa's blog.

Friday 5 December 2014

Late payment

Over a year ago I received this lovely embroidered pouch and stitching goodies from the very creative Catherine (check out her mini masterpieces masquerading as Artist Trading Cards!).

The pouch was my Pay it Forward gift from Catherine, which meant that I had then had to agree to send three more gifts out within a year to the first three commenters to sign up on this blog .

Well, time flew. I considered ideas for the gifts, discarded ideas for the gifts, considered more ideas, discarded more ideas. You get the picture, procrastination is my default position!

Suddenly the year was almost up and I still hadn't decided on a suitable project. Not only that but I was about to head off on (yet another I know!) holiday so that deadline was very definitely going to be missed.

A stern talking to was in order.

Talk delivered I jumped off that fence and made a decision to make three different gifts, one for each recipient which would be, I hoped, tailored to their likes. I had been following/stalking them for over a year I should have some idea of what they liked :)

To date, two of the Pay it Forward packages have been received so I can finally show you what I have been working on since I returned from holiday.

First up,

Pay it Forward 1

A travel sewing kit in linen and cotton for the exotically located Deborah who blogs at Sunshine through the Rain There might have been some Cadbury's chocolate tucked into the package to give Deborah a little taste of home :)

Next up,

Pay it Forward2

A linen and cotton pencil case for the lovely Jo, who blogs at the very wisely named Don't drink and sew That deep purple will hide a lot of wine stains!

For some reason I only have a photo of the back of the case, so you will have to take my word for it that there are tiny hexagons in Indelible (my current favourite fabric line!) on the front :)

As soon as the third parcel arrives I will share it with you too.

So better late than never. I really enjoyed receiving and sending the Pay it Forward parcels and would suggest that if you are thinking about taking part and get the opportunity then go for it. Surprise parcels of sewing goodness are always welcome:)

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts

Tuesday 25 November 2014

New to Me in November

As ever when the 25th rolls around I wonder whether I have actually tried anything new and this month I am delighted to find that I have managed to try my hand at a few New to Me activities. If you have too, link them up and help celebrate November's link party!

First up, my Celtic Christmas Bauble published in the newest edition of the Fat Quarterly

The cushion used Quick Bias tape which I hadn't used before. It was certainly a lot quicker and less fiddly to use than trying to attach the fusible web to the back of a thin strip of fabric!

In between stops on our recent cruise I took advantage of the classes held on At Sea days to try my hand at another New to Me activity - needlepoint.

This is destined to become a glasses case and might even be a Christmas present if I manage to get it finished in time!

If you have made any Christmas gifts or home dec items this month don't forget to link them up to this month's link party over at Rose & Dahlia where Joanne shares her brilliant tutorial for a Christmas Gift Wrap sack!

Thanks to a birthday gift from our middle son and his wife, I enjoyed another New to Me at Wallsend Hall Regular readers of this blog will know that I am partial to an Afternoon Tea or two, so I was delighted when I was given a voucher for Afternoon Tea at the Hall. I didn't realise until I got there that this was not for your standard, run of the mill Afternoon Tea but was, in fact, for a Northumbrian Afternoon Tea.

The Northumbrian Tea is a more savoury affair than your regular tea as it includes such local delights as Ham and Pease pudding croquettes, Craster crab pate, mini Pan Haggerty pies and Lindisfarne Mead jelly. It was delicious! It was my first ever Northumbrian Afternoon Tea but I have a feeling that it won't be my last :)

My final New to Me is yet another New to Me city, this time in Germany. 

My annual Christmas Market trip with my daughters-in-law took us to Aachen in Germany, which as you can see was a wonderful setting for a Christmas market.

So that's my New to Me this month, now it is your turn to share all the fascinating things that you have been up to in November. As ever please help to spread the word by linking back to this post in your post and/or adding the blog button to your sidebar.

Grab button for Celtic Thistle Stitches

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Check out the other links and leave a comment along the way. The emphasis of this link party is to celebrate the trying of something new, whether it works out exactly as planned or not, so a little encouragement here and there would not go amiss! 

The link will remain open until 23.59GMT on November 30th, so you have plenty of time to try something new and link up and join the party :)

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