Tuesday, 31 December 2013

2013 Wrap up

I was going through all my posts and realised that 2013 has been a very quiet year for me.

I have had a lot going on in my home life and this has meant I have been a bit distracted for a good portion (read most) of the year.  It's really only these last two or three months that I finally got my sewjo going.

So the year that started with me getting my own sewing room has not really included a whole lot of sewing.

Small projects, I achieved two things -

In January I whipped up a needlebook as part of Rachel's Handstitched Class.

and after that I did nothing at all until September when a finished up my owl crosstitch 

I finished two quilt tops.  Not "quilts" but I'm counting this as a win.

In October I whipped together the Carpenters Wheel

And, of course, in November I finally finished my fabulous Swoon.

I also made one pieced quilt back and a couple of Santa Sacks...

But that's it.  That's a year of my life.  I had such plans, but it clearly didn't work out as planned.

But you should see my list for 2014 :-)

E xx

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas traditions

I love traditions.  And when I moved out of home I felt like I was losing a little bit of my childhood because I could no longer have the Christmas traditions from when I was little.

Of course, Christmas is also complicated by the need to accommodate two families.  Ashley and I have to spend time with his family over Christmas too, so from the beginning we faced the challenge of some many families - how to celebrate Christmas twice without getting completely over it.

My solution was to create a new tradition. And to extend Christmas out, which frankly just makes me love it more.  And I love it because I feel like I am recapturing some of that child-like Christmas magic. We have officially added Christmas Eve to become part of Christmas proper.

For the last decade (or more), every year, on Christmas Eve we go to my parents house. Some years we get there in the morning and spend the day sorting out the cooking and the table decorations and finalising things for the lunch my Mum hosts the next day. Some years we get there at 6 o'clock just in time to eat.  Often I am there frantically baking the desert I need to have ready for Ashley's family the next day.  My sister, and I, and our partners and my Mum and Dad.  

We have a meal, drink lots of wine, usually play some kind of board game. And then we put on our pajamas and tuck ourselves into bed.  And while we are sleeping, Santa and his reindeer land on our roof and he sneaks into our living room to leave us kids some lovely surprises.

My mother always said that Santa would stop coming when... When we no longer believe (but I insist that I still definitely believe!). When we are teenagers. When we turn 18.  When we move out of home.  When we get married. When... 

One year she tried to tell me Santa wasn't coming.  I pretended not to hear her.  She repeated herself.  I simply replied that he would be. "No, Erin. No more Santa" "Yes, Mum. Santa's still coming". And I decided that if Mum wasn't going to be Santa's helper anymore, then I would be.

Helping Santa has become one of my favourite parts of Christmas.  Better, even, than opening the proper presents. It doesn't hurt that since I started helping, Santa always knows what I like, so I get good swag :-)
This year has been a difficult year for Ashley and I, and we seriously thought about not doing Christmas, or of doing it in a very limited way. But when it got right down to it, we need these traditions. We need the love and joy they represent. And so this Christmas, as we sit here with my family and play Uno and Trivial Pursuit and drink wine and watch Shrek The Halls and White Christmas, my wish is that wherever you are, that love and joy surround all of us.


Have a very Merry Christmas. Thank you all for spending this year with me. Blogging about my sewing, while it might not sound like much, has been a huge blessing in my life this past year. Your comments and stories and sewing days... You all have made this year a better year, than it would have been without you.
Much love,


I have to confess this is not my puppy. This is one of his friends from our local beagle group. But I couldn't resist sharing these beautiful photos. E xx

Monday, 23 December 2013

Santa Sacks - round 3

Don't ask me how I did it, but I made another set of Santa Sacks. And yet, I have still not made one for me!!!
I thought that seeing as Mum and Dad are hosting Christmas and Santa will be visiting their house anyway, they should have somewhere to store them. In previous years, Santa has just left their presents on their armchairs. Well not this year!!

For my Dad I wanted a little bit of Santa and some whimsy. My dad's a bit of a joker and generally very jolly, so I wanted something with a bit of fun. I had some panels left over from my attempt at designing a Christmas quilt so I grabbed one of those and hit the machine.

I basically just QAYG and really, it's more like foundation piecing, because I didn't do any extra top stitching. I cut strips as the mood struck, so there is no real design, just colour and theme. It's a little bit darker than I intended, but their apartment is black, white and red, so I think it'll suit. And it is for a grown up, after all.

For my Mum, I wanted something a bit more structured. A bit more planned. So I made this star block and then laid out the fabric on the wadding and worked out how to sew it together as easily as possible. I really like this finish.

What I don't like about my Mums bag is the back. For all the others I used a home dec weight Christmas text print. Nice and sturdy, neutral colour - worked for all the others! But I didn't have enough left for Mums. I pieced the leftover red and black together to get the size I needed, and just used that, but I don't like it. It feels a bit court jester-y. I'm probably over thinking it, but it's bugging me. I might appliqué some Christmas trees on it, and that may make me like it better.

But there we go!! Two more Santa Sack completed today! I have two days to get one done. For me or I'll be the only person in the family (including the dogs) not to have one.

E xx

1) My camera is still being stupid, so I apologise for the quality of the photos.
2) seeing as I made these over the weekend, I'm linking them in to Kelly too!