summer lovin’

my bones ache with the cold.  i barely remember the summer.  but look, it did exist and it was sunny and warm and colourful.  i have these photos to prove it.

summer lovin'

ladybird on scout’s shoulder in warley woods.

summer lovin'

daisies in victoria park, smethwick.

summer lovin'

swan on edgbaston reservoir.

summer lovin'

sonny and jez, newlyn, cornwall.

summer lovin'

scout with our homegrown potatoes.

summer lovin'

flowers at sandwell valley country park.

if you think its strange that i’m posting pictures of summer on the very evening we’ve put up the advent calendar, just understand that on thursday, me and the other crafty muthas will be beyond cold… freezing our knitting fingers off at the Christmas arts & crafts Market at St Philips Cathedral, in birmingham city centre.  i’m just trying to think warm happy thoughts.  perhaps it will stop snowing and the temperatures will soar to, i don’t know, 0 degrees?  anyway, if you happen to be working or shopping in the area, come and warm us up with a friendly smile.  we’ll have lots of snuggly hand knits and christmas decorations on the stall and it’s the last chance you’ll have to buy them this year.  ’tis the season after all. 

labour of love

in amongst the frenetic activity surrounding these Christmas craft fairs and handmade markets, I somehow managed to complete a project which I had had on the go since around the beginning of the year.

When I was told my wonderful friend Kate was pregnant, I was overjoyed, and desperate to make something extra special for her and Paul’s baby, as it was sure to be extra special too. But what to make?  They both have very defined tastes, and I wanted to make something that would last and not become dated.  Not knowing the little bean would turn out eventually to be our sweet Tillie, I had to be careful with colours, and not choose something too girlie or boyish, not too garish, but rather something natural.

When I found this wool in the mecca that is the Tame Sewing Centre on Cape Fear Hill I knew it was right for Kate’s baby.  As I started the blanket (from Debbie Stoller’s Stitch and Bitch) I could see it was quite holey, so I undid it and started again with double strands, and the resultant fabric is gorgeously dense and soft, warm and cosy.  I really hope she’s gonna love it in years to come.  It’s just the right size for a pram/buggy now; for a snuggly to drag about like Linus in Snoopy; or for wrapping dolls in when she’s a bit bigger. 

It’s already seen some sights – it’s been to many a swimming lesson at Thimblemill pool, to a few birthday parties (yes, I can be anti-social – stop standing on my wool, small child!), to the Bearwood Tapestry and to anywhere where I thought I might squeeze in a few rows, as they were taking me around 10 minutes a time!

It reminds me a bit of Monet’s palette, so I am going to call it Claude (and not just because it might have been if I hadn’t discovered one of the cats making a beeline for it in the attic last night…).

friday night, saturday morning


i know there were only seven days in this week, but wow, so much has happened in what seems like the blink of an eye. ‘a handmade christmas in bearwood’ was a resounding success for all concerned. ofsted visited to inspect my suitability for child-minding. (i’m suitable!) my beloved returned from a work trip to india.  my roof has been insulated.  and i’ve spent many a late night beavering away, replenishing stock for the next raft of craft fairs.

first up is The Blue Coat School in Harborne on Saturday.  that’s tomorrow. think it’s all sorted. due to other mutha commitments me and erin are representing. erin has been knitting like crazy. i spoke to her this morning and i mean crazy – between you and me she’s lost it! (joking) her knitwear is looking oh so warm yet totally cool.  toast-y even – without the scandinavian photo shoot and hiked up price tags!  ceri has entrusted me with a bag of goodies (organza brooches, make-up/pencil rolls and ds cosies). as for me its pretty much more of the same.  the owls, original and mini, still go down well so i’ve made even more. i also made a few more tooth fairy friends. cushions, festive wreaths and lavender sachets (check out my wrinkled, inky fingers in the above pic) will be joining my little creatures at the table top sale.  

so do come along and join us if you’re after stocking fillers, special gifts, or winter warmers. we’ll be at The Blue Coat School, Somerset Road, B17 0HR between 12 and 4pm this Saturday 27th November.  

if we hold it, they will come…

…and they flaming well did too!

OMG what an amazing day yesterday was.  Despite the 2am bedtime on Friday night (after decorating the hall, then hand printing extra labels, and doing my inventory and finishing a few things off… then poorly 4 year old in my bed coughing all night), Saturday morning still managed to start off misty and magical (or maybe that was entirely down to the lack of sleep?).

We piled in to the hall with optimism and butterflies in equal measure, and only got ever so slightly anxious when Warley Woods’ table was still empty at 9.40…and CM Jayne got delayed due to a jammy car door lock…  All came good in the end though.

When Jennie thrust open the main doors at 10 there were already a few gathered, and it was pretty well chocka from then til gone 3!  Nat’s pickles flew off the table (not literally, that would have been both smelly and annoying), and her delectable mini heart bunting as showcased on here sold out in the first ten minutes!  She had to persuade one friend who’d bought the last one to let her keep it on display!  Rachel’s cakes and jams n chutneys completely sold out by the afternoon, which was a shame for those people who came later hoping for some edible goodness!

It was exhilarating to watch the enthusiasm and warmth emanating from people passing through the hall – the general consensus was what a great community event for Bearwood, and what an eclectic mix of people. Buyers commented on the quality and how unique and well finished the goods were, and we are thankful to all of the sellers who participated for making it such a top notch day.

Mentions in the local papers, councillors’ blogs and newsletters, plus twitter and good old word of mouth ensured a wide cross section of the community heard about us, and many of them came along to see what was on offer, and to buy.

I know my feet didn’t touch the ground until gone 3.00, when I left the original “Lili of the Valleys” in charge of the stall for five mins while I zoomed around taking a few snaps before my camera battery finally died.  Also pictured are my “dorjeous” purchases!  So tempting, it had to be done.. So I had a lovely birdie handmade by Helena, a funky fur hairband for Lili and a black and red felt brooch for me from Delilah, a beautiful starry necklace from Emma, and from the crafty muthas I had a pale green bird decoration from Nat, a deep soft purple velvet heart from Jayne, and a tangerine silk rose from Erin.  I have no photos of the chocolate cupcake from Rachel as it didn’t hang around that long…  And from Jennie I had a hug, which is not to be sniffed at!

So, tired and satisfied muthas all round…  “Now what?” I hear you cry. Well reader, let me tell you.  Next up is Bluecoats School in Harborne this weekend, followed by Handmade Birmingham in the grounds of St Philips Cathedral in Birmingham city centre on 2 December, and Kings Heath Primary School on the evening of Friday 3rd.  Not quite stadium gigs yet, but as we all have commissions from yesterday to fulfil, not to mention stock to replenish and day jobs to contend with, that’s more than enough for us to be getting on with, thank you very much!

Many heartfelt thanks to the rest of the muthas for being so fantastic, to our wonderful stallholders for making such beautiful things to sell and for being so fab to work with, to Marion at St Marys for being so accommodating as usual, to Bob and Adam for helping us publicise it, and to Pauline at Rutland Sheds in Bearwood for providing us with such lovely trees to make the hall look super-festive! And a personal special thanks to my lovely hubby and kids for putting up with me in the run up, and to my wonderful Mum who knows exactly what she has done, I love you all! xx

T – minus 18 hours and counting…

T - minus 18 hours and counting...


it’s almost 4pm the evening before our Handmade Christmas in Bearwood. very very nervous indeed. there have been several evenings i’ve sat knitting well past my bedtime. i’m desperately trying to tie up all the loose ends, print labels, weave in ends, sew on buttons and pin backs… and a last minute attempt at taking some photos of my wares and making a blog post about it!

T - minus 18 hours and counting...


i’ll be filling my table with lovely earthy winter knits to keep you warm… a forest of eccentric gentlemen christmas trees… a garden of rose brooches… and of course, a selection of my photographs.

i’m afraid my blog post will be short and sweet because i’m at a loss for words even though my mind is racing. i have a few precious hours before i have to go to the hall and start decorating to make it into our handmade grotto with christmas trees and twinkly fairy lights.

T - minus 18 hours and counting...

sooo i’ll see you all tomorrow, hopefully. please say hi… i’m quite friendly. 🙂

bits and pieces

bits and pieces

i wanted to quickly post my last few bits and pieces but in truth that’s how i’m feeling. my nerves are in bits and pieces worrying about the ‘handmade christmas in bearwood’ event tomorrow. will people come? will they buy? will i be finished in time? will i have enough float? will all the sellers turn up? i could list more but i won’t. its good to be nervous, i don’t have many deadlines, stressful days, people outside of my immediate family relying on me very often. i live in a little bubble where i answer to no-one and organise everything to suit me so its been good to be back in the real world for a change.

so i give you some mini owl pins, jenniebabies and jenniebears. i’ll also be selling cushions, big owls, lovely lavender sachets, corsages, tooth fairy friends and christmas wreaths. if you can make it on saturday, please do. if not, wish me and the muthas well.

bits and pieces

Hanging Around

Thought i would try some displaying tonight as I need to stop making for five and start thinking about how to make my stuff displayable (is that a word?)

  My bessie mate steph has THE most amazing garden and within it is a huge twisted Willow tree, so she popped over the other day with some branches she had taken off and stripped back for me…Thank god for Steph, because i think it looks really nice and festive with a few of my decorations adorning it.

  I also bought a weird pottery hand for displaying my button rings, but not taking a photo as it might scare people off, so not sure if i am going to use it…it’s a bit Addams Family.

  Right, glad that’s sorted…back to stitching like there’s no tomorrow.

  See you Saturday. xx

christmas wreaths : round two


well i’m finally done with the wreaths and another crisp, sunny morning has allowed me to photograph my finished offerings.


as i said before, these are less sparkle, more homespun, warm and snuggly,


if snowballs can be snuggly. boy these pompoms were a pain to get attached. snapped many strands of cotton attempting to tie them on, a lot of swear words were muttered, and my mood wasn’t helped by the johnny cash album i had on. a tad too depressing even for me. still brilliant mind, just the wrong choice for this particular tuesday.


enough of that anyway, poinsettias for the final two. still a bit of tinkering to do with all of them. i just can’t stop. hope you like them anyway. i’m off to put some uplifting christmas tunes on.


round and round the garden


well it’s such a sunny morning i couldn’t resist running into the garden and hanging up the first five wreaths.


trouble is, it is so sunny and the wreaths are so sparkly and shiny that my camera kept warping and had trouble keeping focus with the glare from these babies!


they should definitely lend a bit of sparkle to ‘a handmade christmas in bearwood’ at the weekend…and a few doors too hopefully,


and i am now a legend amongst the ribbon sellers of bearwood. well, it is christmas.


i’m just finishing the next five, which are totally different. more wool, felt, a generally more homey feel to them i think. though the word homey doesn’t sound great but you’ll see what i mean soon.