Feeling Christmassy at last!

One week to Christmas Eve not that any of us need reminding, really! Well, my excity pants are finally on and I’m in the festive spirit at long last. Whooo – Hooo! The tree is looking pretty. The icicle lights around the outside windows look a real picture in the dark. Very Christmassy.

Shopping has been very successful and it’s pretty much all wrapped up. The cake is waiting to be iced but there’s plenty of time. Still got the supermarket Big Shop to brave but am prepared for those sharp elbows that vicious harpies like to dig into ones ribs to shove people out of the way.

Tilda Hare

Having made the rabbits, I’m having a go at the Tilda hare. Here are some of the bits ready to be assembled.

The legs are stitched on and topped with tinchy heart-shaped buttons to hide the threads.

Crochet Bootees

Talking of Tilda and outfits – remember those crochet bootees I had so much trouble with? Look what this cute pair of bunnies are wearing on their feet!

I made two pairs and stitched little pearl beads into the flower centres. The lilac pair match the outfit of the girlie rabbit.

And a twinkly white pair with matching bobble hat for the next girlie rabbit I will make.

But first, there are some jolly gingerbread men that need to be created and hung around a willow wreath! Yes, Tilda is my latest crush. *Sigh*.

 

While I was busy sorting and fussing through Christmassy bits, Jess was having a good nose and sniff at it all!

There’s catnip for her stocking but don’t tell her and keep it a surprise!

Speak laters!

Not quite neon signage but getting there

This have-a-go at neon signage was inspired by a tutorial published on the Spoon Blog Graphics site. His tutorials are always pretty thorough and easy to follow so I dived in head first and just got on with it.

It’s not perfect but now I am familiar with the underlying principles and techniques it can be developed into something prettier and a bit more sophisticated. For the time being, play the vid, check out the effects and maybe have a go yourself.

 

Tilda

I downloaded a free Tilda bunny pattern and had great fun making them. They’re very easy and loved making the little clothes. Each one was made in an evening – how simple and fun is that?!

You’ll recognise the grey gingham check from Ikea? I have enough to cover a battle ship with it but still really like it. Unlike Ikea. I never like Ikea.The orchestrated walk-through is really meant as a one-way system so becomes a right battle if you want to go back, counter to the on-coming ‘traffic’ at which point it becomes somewhat surreal with a feeling of being trapped in The Prisoner village. You know the one? Where Patrick Magoohan found himself when he resigned from the secret service and they wanted to brainwash/deprogramme/lobotomise him (or something like that).

Protest as much as you like about being a free man and not a number, the staff are indifferent, if you can find any. They are issued with stealth cloaks of invisibility to avoid detection. Until you get to the self-service check outs. You’ll find some there, alright, with faces set like wheel clamps softened with the empathy of a bolt cutter.

It’s a ghastly experience. But it IS pretty cheap and some of the stuff there is truly fab. So, it’s a devil’s bargain. We went Sunday morning and shopped around a bit.  It was heaving. Apparently, Christmas trees, real ones, were being sold at €35, which, again, apparently, is a Very Good Price. And they have a Santa’s Grotty by the escalator. All big crowd-pullers.

Luckily we had our list and knew the route (better the devil you know) so got what we came for and scooted off.  I don’t know which circle of hell it was but we got out of there within 40 mins. Sonic Sneakers and Ikea GPS. And no sign of Rover, the big white Prisoner capture balloon, we were happy to note.

Hickey’s had a Black Friday 20% off weekend and so we made a quick detour and bought some nice bits and bobs. Rotary blades, embroidery floss, needles, ribbons…. just lots of bits. Lovely.

Going back to the Tilda’s – I made this little guy first. Couldn’t believe how quick he was to make. And the end result is very rewarding. The hardest part is getting the stuffing in so the rabbit isn’t lumpy like it’s got cellulite, oedema  or other medical conditions requiring surgical stockings and diuretics.

The only problem was stitching around the outline of the pattern pieces. I used an air-drying invisible pen and to my consternation the pen markings vanished before I could do a full circuit of each piece. Still, the pattern is relatively forgiving and let me follow my nose a bit and he still turned out a little smasher.

*** For those of you  who don’t know, Tilda patterns are outline-stitched then cut around afterwards to create the seam allowance***

Now to turn the rabbit into Christmas angels with gift bags. That’s the plan.

And, hey, it’s the first of December!!! OMG. The clock is ticking and it’s countdown.

Time to marzipan The Cake!!! *Excited pants dance*

Byeee

Beady eyed

Hello Dare! I’m back.

I’ve been busy, you know. Shopping. All that surfing around Amazon takes time and effort …and money. So the piggy bank is empty and looking on the lean side now. BUT, I think I’ve pretty much nailed it. I’ve got nearly everything – just food and drink.

If me and Smithy are on our own this Crimble, Christmas dinner will be one big curry (home made and fresh) with naans (garlic and coriander), rice, poppodoms, samosas and  refreshingly chilled pear cider. This knocks Christmas Pudding off the top spot for me. The traditional turkey with roast everythings, yorkshire puds, sauces, gravies, stuffings and everything else – the ‘trimmings’ isn’t my thing. The Christmas adverts showing the table heaving with oozing puddings and dripping cranberries looks like an autopsy to me. They say ‘if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen’ I can’t, so I am!

This December is full of happy clappies for us. Christmas do’s, plays at the theatre, an evening of film and fun at the local cinema (ticket money going to charity), family over for weekend visits. Gorgeous things darling! I’ve printed off my December calendar page again just to make sure I’ve got everything in an at-a-glance format.

Oh Christmas Tree

The tree goes up on the first of December. We never get a real one  as Smithy has a severe allergy to pine needles – found that one out the hard way. The tree we have is a beauty though. Six foot tall with really thick, stiff, strong ‘bottle brush’ branches. Last year Gracie climbed up the bloody thing and sat in the branches so this year it’s going in the back room and I’ll try to keep the girls out of there.

Every year I make a few crafty decorations to hang up (Vicky in Cinncinnati inspired me to make my own). She had three large trees. One was decked with Star Trek bits – with LEDs and audio – ‘Beam me up, Scotty’ and ‘It’s lfe, Jim, but not as we know it’ etc. Geekily fab-u-lous!

Her second tree was covered with shop-bought poinsiettas with big pink satin bows.

The third, and my favourite, was the tree with her hand-crafted decorations. I fell in love with it. Gingham stars, tweed hearts, little cotton stockings… So here I am, a few years on, making lots of my own. The Christmas Samsara birds are a joy to make, scented with cinnamon and stitched with all manner of twinkly, glittery threads and beads. I’ve tried to get a good close-up to show you more detail:

Calender

Talking of my December calender page, here it is. I designed it in Illustrator and printed it out as a cutting file then made a giclee print of it along with the running rabbits. I shall be making my 2016 calender in the next few weeks and hoping for some mojo to come my way and inspire some new graphics.

Here is the owl, hand-cut missing its beak.

Like the journals? The covers are leather and embossed with gold foil. They were bought like that, I don’t have the equipment or the skills. Aren’t they beautiful? I don’t do them justice and scribble and jot randomly. They should have pages of beautiful sketches and gorgeous brush script words of inspiration. But they don’t. Just my scruffy scrawlings 😉

Roughly an A4 and an A5.

Brilliant find in Lidl – boxed set of Christmas washi tape. They have a dull gold lustre which is just perfect.

And, rushing to get these done in the next few days – advent jubbies. Six more to make – a set for Smithy and another for a friend. I have the numbers cut out ready to pop on to a dimentional so that won’t take too long. Just need to make a little hole to tie some glittery twine through so they can be hung up and they’re all done. They’re filled with foiled santas, snowmen, coins, balls and crinkly cellophane/foil wrapped pralines.

So all I have to do now, is twitch the curtains and wait for the Amazon deliveries to arrive, figuratively speaking, anyway.

Well, that lunch won’t make itself and if I don’t eat soon I might die of the hunger! Bye for now x x x

Sewing Frenzy

I have my sewing mojo back. The dark sparkles within lit up and got me going again. As you can see, another trial with bias binding. Many curse words were uttered in the making of this pouch. Unpicking and stitch-ripping – aargh! The hilarity of it all! Eventually, it came together and this lovely little pouch was finished and filled with essential bits and bobs. An Altoids tin with beads, sewing floss, a teeny-tiny needle case for embroidery and beading needles plus assorted odds and sods for emergency sewing situations.

 

I popped into Aimee Rose in City West for some crochet markers and spotted these glittery treasures. These are perfect for snazzing up Christmas decor bits and work wonderfully well with a cording foot. Simply slide under the grooves on the foot and set the machine to a zig-zag stitch using a neutral or close-coloured top thread and zig-zag the Goldfingering Twilley stuff onto your fabric.

The Twilleys gives lots of surface detail and gorgeous glitz. Even the ‘white’ one; it actually has an irridesecnt shimmer that is just glorious to a magpie like me. These cost about €4 each so not cheap but they do last a long time. If you don’t let your cats play with them.

Gracie has shown me better techniques to layout text and pictures in Illustrator, pissed on my pathetic attempts to code in Python showing me her Pythonista prowess and all-round Parcel-tonguedness simply with a couple of light paw touches on the keyboard. What a star. Lol.

I keep a good few of my sewing machine feet in a lovely little box Smithy bought me last Christmas. It’s quite beautiful. And cat-safe.

 

 

I used the cording foot to zig-zag over some gold and metallic red threads on the Christmas Samsara birds. The new Twilleys collection has inspired me to make a few more decorations but they will probably have to wait until next week as my time is a bit tied up at the moment.

 

I also gave this little 50c sale bag (Mr Dunnes, about 4 years ago) a bit of a flossie, french knot make over with embroidery flosses from Aimee Rose. I love the French Knot and Speckling stitches for creating random, pretty surface design and just go with the flow and enjoy being dotty.

 

Inadvertently took this shot (was playing with extension tubes, zoom lens and a tripod today) and got a nice shot of my old Singer. Weren’t they just the last word in Gorjuss??!

Am off to have my tea, now. Jalfrezi curry (home made) with garlic and coriander naans.  Right now, Gracie is sleeping on my feet by the radiator and I will try to gently ease my feet away without disturbing her. She looks as cute as a button.

Bye for now.

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