Thursday, October 31, 2013

who's with me?

View this inspirational treasury here.
It's Halloween, which means it's officially (well, not officially) OK to start talking about Christmas, right?  I'm really looking forward to the anticipation season, if you know what I mean - starting to think about presents, turning on the heating or even the fire, opening the advent calendar, sipping amaretto, eating mince pies, making a festive gumdrop wreath and, maybe most of all, digging out my box of decorations to hang on the tree.  I LOVE my shoebox full of decorations, especially all the random handmade ones.

Anyway, I got to thinking (thanks to some inadvertent inspiration from Saffa) about just how much I really do love all my decorations and how quite a chunk of my collection came from a handmade decoration swap that I took part in back in 2008 (no way! five years ago!) via Swapbot.  The swap was so much fun!  I loved getting little parcels all through December and every single decoration, no matter how simple or fancy, tickled me thoroughly pink.  I also loved the idea of my own little handmade decorations hanging on other people's trees, maybe for year after year or even generation after generation.

So, it's been five years.  Don't you agree it might be time to participate in another Christmassy swap?  I had a quick look on Swapbot again, but couldn't find anything, so I decided I should try to organise one myself and just wanted to ask... who's with me?

I've never organised a swap before, but here's what I'm thinking.

* Anyone can participate - I think this swap should be open to all comers, regardless of geographical location.  For this reason, make sure any materials you use are OK to send abroad and the deadline for posting will be set at December 1st to allow decorations a few days to hang on trees prior to Christmas Day (and because it's easy to remember).  Don't tell the boss I said so, but you could always bend this date a bit if you were sending to someone in the same country as yourself since this swap is meant to be fun and not stressful.

* Decorations can be as simple or as elaborate as you like and nobody should worry that their decorations might not cut the festive mustard.  Part of the joy of a tree covered in handmade decorations is that some of them are beautiful and some of them are wonky. It is all good, so please don't let wobbly creative-confidence stop you from signing up!

* We're all busy, so I'm thinking we should keep the numbers small.  I'm sure nobody has the time or energy to go into full-on production-line manufacturing!  It all depends how many people sign up, but I think if we get more than around five takers, then I'll probably divide into two (or more) groups.  You'll need to be prepared to be a little bit flexible on this depending on interest (or lack of) but I'm thinking you would make, and therefore receive, six decorations as an absolute maximum if you did decide to take part.

So what do you reckon?  If you'd like to take part (please, please, please!) then drop me an email (you can do that by clicking on the airmail envelopes on the right-hand side there) giving me your full name and postal address by midnight on Monday November 4th.  By Wednesday November 6th, I'll email everyone who's signed up, detailing how many decorations to make and where to send them to.  This will leave you almost four weeks to make and send your decorations.  Simple, no?

So, are you more Scrooge or Santa?  Please banish those humbugs (bah!) and let the festive spirit run free - sign up and/or spread the Christmassy word :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

happy halloween 2013!

As promised, here's Dulcie in her spidery Halloween costume, complete with those hand-drawn flies*.  This picture was taken on the way into her nursery Halloween party on Monday and, as you can see, she was chuffed to bits with her outfit and with the general party atmosphere.
Since I am still off work (just for a few more days now!) I was able to go along to the party and, despite it being my basic idea of a social nightmare, I'm so glad I could.  It was so sweet to see Dulcie enjoying herself and mucking in with everything, not fazed at all by the strange outfits, noise and general hullaballoo.
Here she is "dooking" for apples (can you still call it "dooking" when you're using a fork?) and loving every minute.  She did, with a bit of assistance, get an apple eventually.

Dulcie kept me close most of the time, but it was more like she was excited to have me there than that she needed me for reassurance.  When it was time to read a story (Room On The Broom, naturally!) she charged off to bag the prime spot at the front of the group, leaving me far behind.

When I picked her up on Monday evening, she was (as usual) full of beans and chatting about her day.  Apparently she had helped to repaint her key worker's face in the afternoon and was exclaiming, "Kelly Anne's face blue!" all the way home.  Gawd bless 'er!

I am seriously loving Dulcie's nursery.  My mum stayed at home until I started school (although I did go to playgroup a couple of mornings a week, I think) and my sister is a full-time stay-at-home mum, so it can be hard to have to do something different in the way I'm bringing up Dulcie, but when I see how much she gets from the experience, I'm so glad things have turned out this way.  I'm even starting to think nursery may just be worth every one of those millions of pennies!

Hope you have a suitably spooky Halloween tomorrow.  Enjoy :)

* I feel I need to add a disclaimer regarding these flies and let you know that their colour did not hold in the wash and they've turned blue rather than black - not a major issue in this case (they'll do for one more party) but it would have been annoying if I'd been decorating a longer-term garment.  I don't know if this is because I used pens rather than a computer printer or whether it would have happened anyway.  I've never washed anything that I've used transfer paper on before (I usually use it for lavender bags etc.) but one day I will experiment further - try it with computer-printed images, permanent markers etc.  I would like to be able to draw things for Dulcie to wear, but there's not much point if I can't wash the clothes afterwards.  Do let me know if you have any insights!

Monday, October 28, 2013

miss dignity

Have you ever noticed how many old, still-in-their-packaging tights you always find in charity shops?  I've never been sure why that is.  Why would so many people get tights, leave them in their packaging and then hold onto them for years on end?  It's one of life's mysteries.  Whatever the reason, these tights, spotted in Oxfam today, were particularly impressive in their packaging design.  Nice.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Halloween is coming

I'm busy drawing flies on transfer paper for Dulcie's Halloween costume.  She has a couple of parties to go to and is going to be dressed (in a mixture of handmade/charity-shop-bought items) as a spider, these flies being the extent of the "handmade" element.  I hope they won't disgust/frighten any of the children or staff at her nursery.  Perhaps realistic flies are not appropriate Halloween attire for a one-and-a-bit-year-old to be wearing?  (I am still not confident when it comes to this PUBLIC mothering malarkey.)  Still, better slightly creepy over-sized flies than slightly tarty witch outfits (right?) which I was shocked to see do come in toddler sizes.  Yuck.  Halloween is not about looking sexy, if you ask me...especially when you're not even two yet!  Jeez...
Excuse the manky ironing board, floor, life...  Even the top is manky with old food stains under those flies, but I'm too frugal/stingy to put flies on a top that is still clean and wearable.  They don't exactly breathe a new lease of life into a garment!

I'll be sure to share a picture of the outfit in its totality (complete with toddler inside!) before the month is out.  I hope it turns out OK.  A Halloween costume is one of those funny mothering firsts (last year was lower key/less public) that you don't really think about too much before it happens.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

dressing your child like a sideshow freak

I am truly loving this Weird And Wonderful Sideshow fabric by Jordan Elise of Horrible Adorables. I think I am going to buy some and make a dress/top for Dulcie from it, probably a dress. I just need to wait and see how dress number one (still sitting cut but unsewn) turns out to guage how much of this fabric I need and whether or not I need to find an alternative pattern. 

I showed Dulcie this picture and she was very excited and even learned to say "bearded lady" straightaway! Graham likes it too, so it's a winner with all the family :)

You can buy fat quarters via Etsy here...

or various sizes and finishes from Spoonflower here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Dulcie loves hedgehogs at the moment, or "eggoes" as she calls them. She always wants me to make hedgehogs out of playdough. It will be her birthday soon, so I'm thinking of making her a hedgehog cake a bit like this. I think the amount of chocolate in this design will be good to help me get over the shock at Dulcie turning two already! And this sort of cake (I'm presuming mine won't look quite as good) might not be beyond even my non-existent baking/decorating skills. I do like the home-made look, you know... as evidenced by last year's Hungry Caterpillar! Ha!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

baby, it's cold outside

When it's not raining, I am loving this colder weather.  Brrr!  Wrapping Dulcie up is a good feeling too, not that she's willing to keep her hat on for long.  I'm hoping, like last winter, that it will just be a case of her getting used to it because she does actually seem to like the hat, judging by the fact she wants to put it on whenever she sees it and loves to look at herself in the mirror when she's wearing it.  This hat was purchased this summer from a hand-knits (and other bits) stall in aid of Guide Dogs For The Blind and I love it, it's very funky, I think.
Thumbs up for mittens!

I didn't realise Dulcie's pushchair hood was reflective until I took these shots, or is that just her angelic halo?  Ha!  Not likely...

Friday, October 18, 2013

graphic embroideries

This week I read my first ever graphic novel, Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi, the one who wrote Persepolis, and I really enjoyed it.  I picked this book up at random (it was facing outwards on the shelves of my local library) and within the first few pages decided I should borrow it, so I took it home and read the whole thing that very afternoon.  I never much fancied the idea of a graphic novel, but this was really good and much easier to read than I had imagined.  I wasn't sure I'd paid that much attention to the illustrations, but I certainly got more enjoyment out of reading this than I would have from having read a script (this book is all reported conversation, speech bubble style) so the illustrations must have been going in and making an impact somehow.  I guess this book's probably not your typical graphic novel (?) but I'm quite inspired now to branch out and try a few more.  All and any recommendations gratefully received!

p.s. I'm loving my new mustard tights and this cute skirt, which was a lucky charity shop find earlier this week :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

do you love salvage?

 We made our first ever trip to Love Salvage this weekend and I sure did love their salvage!  There were loads of interesting things to look at and, even though the only thing I bought was a blouse, I was tempted by many items.  This upcycled toy box was calling my name very loudly, but Graham was firm in his refusal, claiming we could make one ourselves for a lot less money.  Well, yes, we COULD, but...  So now we're keeping our eyes peeled for old trunks, furniture legs and beautiful paper with soldiers on it.  Oh yeah, and we're looking for a free weekend for construction purposes!
Dulcie, most conveniently, snoozed in her pram (a rare occurrence these days) while we had a good look round.  

We're definitely planning to visit Love Salvage on a semi-regular basis so I'm glad it's so conveniently close to the underground.  It's the sort of place you know will throw up something amazing one day.  Hopefully whatever that thing is won't be too expensive once we find it... Still, they did say they're happy to haggle!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

city chicks

Graham snapped this picture of Dulcie and I walking in Partick at the weekend.  Apart from my grumpy face, I really like it, it's a good wee snapshot.  I sometimes forget how little Dulcie is until I see her from an outside perspective like this.  I feel a bit bad now that I had been telling her off and imaptiently yanking her along the pavement a few minutes before this was taken.  Still, it's easy to forget how much hard work Dulcie can be when she's not actually here to remind me.  It's not always easy to be patient when you've been deprived of sleep, but I must try harder.  What a wee toot :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

stickers on everything

Stickers are a fairly recent discovery for Dulcie but she LOVES them.  We have lots of stickery art around the place, always drawing a "Wow!" from Dulcie when she sees them.  This is her latest creation, made from the lid of an old chocolate box.  I made the stickered "Dulcie" in the bottom right corner, but the rest of it was all her own work.  I'm sure, looking at this, that that's not hard for you to believe, bless her!

I'm loving that Dulcie is starting to show an interest in things creative.  She loves crayons, chalk, play dough, stickers etc. at home and I don't think there's been a day yet that she hasn't come home from nursery covered in paint.  I hope I'll be able to nurture this interest as her capabilities improve.  How good would it be if we could sew or crochet together?!  Exciting times ahead...

Know any great crafts I could start to introduce to a teeny-tiny, not-yet-two toddler?

Monday, October 14, 2013


On Friday night, Dulcie came with us to gatecrash her Granma and Grampa's 50th wedding anniversary.  They weren't having an official party, but their anniversary happened to coincide with the monthly Frank Sinatra night that they run, so Graham's sister Laura (a.k.a. Auntie Dee Dee) and the three of us turned up to surprise them.  Of course, it turned out that children weren't allowed in the venue (aaargh!) but they decided to let Dulcie stay until 10pm as long as she was discretely hidden at all times.  Dulcie was pretty disappointed not to be allowed on the dance floor (she was desperate to join in with the dancing) but had a good time nonetheless, getting a big slice of cake and even winning a bottle of wine in the raffle.  Her Granma and Grampa were very glad she came and Dulcie enjoyed hanging out with her Auntie Dee Dee over the weekend, especially since she brought her a copy of The Singing Mermaid as a present!  See, there are benefits to relatives reading your blog after all!

I suppose Dulcie doesn't get to go to many family events (and I'm not seeing many weddings on the horizon...) so this was a rare treat for her.  Being out in the dark and travelling in a taxi were also rare treats.  "Dark!  Dark!  Car seat!"  The wee poppet fell asleep in the taxi home and was transferred to her cot in all her party clothes, where she slept half the night.  Gawd bless 'er!

And doesn't she look like her dad?  He just needs to pop his finger in his mouth and they'd be identical in that photo.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Seeing as you could describe this as a baby blog, I thought it only appropriate to share the shocking service we've received recently from Mothercare, what was once the go-to place for all things baby and toddler.  We certainly won't be shopping there again!

About a year ago, we bought the above Mothercare pushchair - the Mino stroller.  We'd only actually been using it for a matter of months when it all started to feel a bit wobbly and wonky, with both handles moving independently from one another.  A couple of weeks ago, while pushing Dulcie to nursery, the base partially collapsed, sending the front wheels crashing into one another and very nearly toppling Dulcie out onto the pavement.  Upon closer inspection we discovered that one of the metal cross bars underneath had snapped in half.  The pushchair still had a whole year left on its guarantee, so we took it back to the shop, confident that the pushchair would be repaired or replaced as stated in the guarantee.

Long story short, Mothercare, upon investigating the problem, have refused to honour the guarantee, claiming that this is not a manufacturing problem and that it has been caused by us not folding the pushchair properly.  All this despite the fact the fault occurred while pushing the chair, which has not been folded more than a handful of times in its entire (very short!) life and always in accordance with the provided instructions.  Also, reading reviews on Mothercare's website shows that other owners of the Mino pushchair have experienced EXACTLY the same problem.  Sounds suspiciously like a manufacturing issue to me!

To add insult to injury, once Mothercare decided they were not honouring the guarantee, they insisted I return the loan pushchair (which came to me covered in crumbs from former loans - yuck!) immediately and without notice, effectively leaving me pramless.  I found this completely unreasonable and it seemed a blatant attempt to force me into buying another pushchair from them (this was their suggestion when I explained my predicament) and this something I am definitely not prepared to do.  For now, I have refused to return the loan pushchair until the new pram we have ordered (from another retailer) has arrived, but I may yet insist Mothercare come and collect it when we're good and ready to give it back.  I feel I need to gain back some ground in this so that I don't feel quite so thoroughly shafted.

Apologies for such a dull post, but hopefully somebody will read this one day and avoid buying the Mothercare Mino stroller, or anything else from Mothercare for that matter.  I am beyond disappointed in the "service" they have provided and now have no faith in either them or their products.  I'm so mad I have even emailed Watchdog!  Look out for me on the sofa with Anne Robinson soon!  And I'll be sure to let you know what I think of the new pushchair once it arrives.  Surely it can't be worse than what we've experienced already...

Friday, October 11, 2013

lucking out at the library

Our most recent trip to the library was a very fruitful one, with five out of six books proving a hit with both Dulcie and I.  I thought I might share them here for any picture-book fans amongst you. 
 Hickory Dickory Dog by Alison Murray is a reworking of the classic nursery rhyme, this time about a dog who follows his owner to nursery for the day and has a whale of a time but does get a little messy.  Dulcie loves nursery rhymes, clocks and dogs, so this rhyming number was a sure-fire winner with her and was a great way to introduce the topic of nursery, showing her how fun it would be.  The modern illustrations are lovely for all to behold too.
 Stanley's Stick is written by John Hegley and illustrated by Neal Layton.  John Hegley's a poet and it shows!  Dulcie and I both loved this book, but I know a lot of the other adults in our lives were not so keen.  I will admit it can be quite tricky to read if you are prone to lisping, with many sentences rather S-heavy.  The story is very simple - Stanley has a stick that he uses for all sorts of imaginative play, he throws the stick in the sea one day ("Gosh, what a tiny splosh for something that has been so big in Stanley's days..." Love!) and then finds a different stick to play with.  Dulcie does have quite a thing for sticks, but I like to think she would have enjoyed this book regardless.  It just has a lovely gentleness to it and is so nice to read together, all snuggled up.  Beautiful.
Julia Donaldson.  Julia Donaldson, Julia Donaldson, Julia Donaldson...  She's everywhere.  How many books has this woman written?!  I think she must knock one out every time she visits the toilet, but so far we haven't come across one that Dulcie didn't love and The Singing Mermaid is no exception.  Illustrated by the awesome Lydia Monks there really is, as the cover claims, GLITTER ON EVERY PAGE.  Yes, this is one sparkly, sparkly book, but all that glitter doesn't out-shine the rhyming text in the least, or the story, which is about a mermaid who is hoodwinked into joining money-mad Sam Sly's circus.  She misses her home terribly, until a seagull and an acrobat devise a cunning escape plan...  Dulcie loves this book so much (I'm going to have to buy her a copy, I think) and even asks me to recite passages from it when the book is nowhere to be seen.  She rubs her hands together and says, "Meppa!  Hands!"  ("Meppa" is how she says "mermaid" for some reason...)  I then have to recite the passage where Sam Sly rubs his hands in glee and gives the mermaid the smooth-talking hard sell to get her to join the circus.  This may be as much down to my incredible cockney accent as much as Julia Donaldson's writing, though, I must admit!

All these books had to go back to the library (overdue as usual, naughty me) this week and I was very sad to see them go.  Have you read any great picture books lately?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

the goose is getting fat

Talking of Christmas (which I was a couple of posts back) I have reopened my Etsy shop, possibly temporarily, so that I could list a few Christmas cards - four varieties of EastEnders cards, available individually (Pat, Frank, Dot, Ethel and Willy - £2 each) or as a set (£6)...
 ...and my by now very familiar "Now is the winter of our discount tents" gocco printed cards (£2 each) in turquoise or mustard.

I think I did well to hold off until October before I cracked out the X-word, right?  You'd agree with that if you knew I'd been tempted since August.  Chri-i-i-i-i-i-istmas!

I might list some more things in my shop soon (in for a penny...) but I'm still kind of undecided.  In the meantime, if you've seen anything in the past that you'd like me to relist, go ahead and ask.  If I have any ready made and available, I'd be happy to put a listing up for you.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

just beat it!

On Saturday evening, refusing to go to bed, Dulcie heard her dad shaking bed sheets through the baby monitor and mistook the noise for a dragon flapping its wings.  She was quite frightened and ran over, wrapping all four limbs tightly round me.  When I told Graham what had happened, he said he would go to the bedroom and chase the dragon away, not realising Dulcie thought the dragon was behind the shelves where the baby monitor sat, so when she heard Graham's voice telling the dragon to beat it through the monitor, she thought there was a random man in the flat now too.  Oh dear...  She spent all weekend talking about the dragon and how she got a big fright and the man told the dragon to beat it.  We told her she didn't need to be scared of dragons because she could just tell the dragon to beat it and it would fly away.  Seeing this video now, I'm not so sure encouraging her to say "Beat it" was such a good idea, but I'm loving the fact she's starting to get a wee imagination of her own.

I don't really know where Dulcie's sudden interest in dragons has come from.  As far as I'm aware, the only dragons she's seen are the one that makes a fairly brief appearance in Room On The Broom and the one in her colouring book.  Since hearing this dragon, though, she's got quite into Puff The Magic Dragon and we've been listening to it and singing it a lot.  I'm quite happy about this as I do love that song.  If only I didn't have to cry every time I heard it.  "Dragons live for ever, but not so little boys..."  Waaah!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


I've admired this little make-your-own set by Alicia Paulson over the last few winters.  I know seeing these decorations on my Christmas tree would make me so happy.  They are a bit on the pricey side for me though (around £19 before postage) in a time when I am trying not to spend any money on fripperies and fancies and lord knows I wouldn't get round to making them until Boxing Day or some time in February or July.  I'm still sorely tempted though.  They really are most adorable and the thought of pulling all the little supplies out of the kit makes me twitch in crafty anticipation...

Despite my tight reins on the old purse strings of late, this week I had to spend money on a new pair of boots.  I had no shoes left other than my one-size-too-small wellies, so I was reduced to wearing them every single day.  I must have been the only person pleased to see the wet weather every morning - you look much less silly in wellies when it's actually raining!

Monday, October 7, 2013

too cool for...nursery

Friday was Dulcie's first full day at nursery and, once again, it went without a hitch.  I still can't believe how smooth and easy this transition has been and it hasn't just been not-bad, it's been positively great.  Dulcie absolutely loves nursery days and comes home full of the joys, chatting about the lady who looks after her, the children who have become her wee pals, the activities she's been doing and the places she's been on outings.  It's such a relief and I'm so glad my instincts about the nursery she's at have been proved correct.  All that said, this morning I left Dulcie screaming and cying and shouting for me, which was really hard to do (this was the first time she had cried at all) but I'm sure she was fine within a few minutes and hopefully she'll still have a good day.  Her wee pal Calum (a lovely boy a few years older who has taken her under his wing) was already trying to distract her with all the best toys as I was leaving.  Dulcie adores Camlum, as she calls him, so I'm sure he would have been able to cheer her up... but I'm still going to phone and check she's OK once I've done this!

I was trying to get a classic first-day-at-nursery shot of Dulcie before she left on Friday, but this was the closest I got since we lack a garden, let alone a garden path, we were (of course) running late and Dulcie is too interested in the camera these days to stay on the right side of it for long.  Still, this shot gives you a fair idea of the realities of Dulcie's nursery days - leaving a chaotic flat behind with her over-sized Spider-man bag strapped to her back, raring to go and ready as she'll ever be.  I think I'm ready to give up pretending we'll ever have a perfectly photographable lifestyle.  We fly by the seat of our lazy-arse, easily-distracted pants round here.
Despite itching to do something to make a dent in the ever more hovelly hole of our "home" while I had a day to myself, I spent Friday RESTING.  I finished one book, watched Australian soaps while eating my lunch, started another book and had a snooze before heading out to pick Dulcie up again.  Well, I did also do a mini supermarket shop, make a curry for dinner and wash the sofa covers following a cat-puke incident, but that was as far as I veered from the path of rest and relaxation.  I plan to spend today resting to the max too, now that I'm back in the house and settled with my hot chocolate.  To be honest, just the walk to Dulcie's nursery and back is enough to make me feel like I need to sleep all day in order to recover at the moment.  I'm teetering on the fence between trying to deny I feel so bad and trying to accept it enough to allow myself the time and space to rest.  I've been off work for almost four weeks now and don't feel any better.  Does this mean I'm never going to feel better or does it just mean that it's pretty hard to rest in any beneficial way when a little mum limpet likes to have you at her beck and call every minute of the day AND NIGHT?  Hopefully it's the latter.  I'm going back to the GP soon to get signed off for a few more weeks and, as of this week, Dulcie is going to be doing three full days at nursery.  I'm going to do my best to override the guilt while she's there and just rest, rest, rest and eat plenty of homemade soup... which I'll have to use some resting time to shop for and make.  Aargh!  And this nagging voice at the back of my mind keeps telling me it would be easier to rest effectively and would make non-resting time so much less strenuous if my house was less chaotic.  Should I clear up and clear out or should I stay in bed with a good book?  Should I traipse to the supermarket and stand over a soup pot or should I eat less healthily but more conveniently on easy-to-grab food?  Resting is a hard art to master.  I suppose I'm just scared this isn't resting to recover but is instead  resting into a permanent and different level of living which is not the level I want to live at.  I just want to have the energy to do something fun once I've done everything necessary. 

Insert sad face here, like so :(

Sunday, October 6, 2013

cushy birthday number

It was my sister's birthday on Friday.  My sister's living room is full of cushions.  Some might say this means the last thing she needs is more cushions, but I say it suggests she is a cushiony sort of person and might appreciate two more to add to her collection.  That's why I made her these patchwork cushions, created from tea towels, all souvenirs from Scotland for when she gets homesick or starts to feel too French.  I've been planning these cushions for about a year, but it took me a long time to source enough tea towels to make them.  In the end, all of these were found by my mum as Elgin's charity shops turned out to be a far more fruitful hunting ground than Glasgow's where I found NONE despite a year of looking.  Naturally, I found the best ever Scottish souvenir tea towel (in Elgin!) just a few days after I posted these off.  Darn!

The idea for these cushions is not my own, I should add.  I saw similar cushions in the window of a little shop on Byres Road some time last year and thought they were lovely.  However, they had a price tag of about £30 each, if I remember correctly, and that is not a price I would ever pay for a cushion cover I felt I could make myself.  I know some people in the handmade circuit (many of whom read this blog) would find my actions morally corrupt, but I don't see any problem with it.  I'm not selling these cushions and I would never have paid £60 for two of them (not that I think the price was necessarily wrong - I know some people are in the position to pay that) so I wasn't even doing the maker out of a sale.  I wouldn't have any qualms about making a copy of something I saw in Marks and Spencer, for example (maybe you don't agree with that either?) and I don't really see why this is any different.  I'd be pissed off if someone copied my Dot Cotton embroidery and started selling it (as, in fact, someone did - grrr) but I am absolutely fine with the idea of someone making a version of it for themselves or to gift to someone.  Heck, I even showed a potential customer the stitch I used so they could do just that!  If I knew who had made the original cushions, I'd link to them here, but I don't, and the shop that sold them has long since closed down, so I can't send you there either.  I can only say that I can't claim credit for the original idea and confess that my reproductions probably have a few more imperfections and used slightly less lovely (but more personally relevant) towels in their making.  However, they also showed my sister that I thought she was worth the time and effort of making them.  Hopefully she doesn't feel she's not worth anything to me financially - even the cushion inserts came to me free as they were ones my mum was getting rid of anyway!

Lately I have really enjoyed making handmade gifts for people I care about, something I used to do a lot more of.  I'm thinking of reopening my Etsy shop soon, but I'll probably focus on prints and cards etc, things that don't take so much time per individual item.  I definitely want to devote most of my making time (rare as it is) to making things for myself, my home, my family and my friends.  That's where I get real pleasure from crafting, I just got a bit distracted for a few years there.

What do you think about people making their own versions of commercially available items?  Did I do a bad thing or is it not a problem?  Feel free to disagree with me - I really am interested in people's viewpoints on this and can take it on the chin!

Friday, October 4, 2013


 I'm not usually one for the acronyms of youth, but... OMG!  My sister emailed me a link to these amazing animal pompoms on Mr Printables this morning and I was so amazed by them that I burnt my (special treat) pain au chocolat!  How cute?!  We all know I love pom poms at the best of times, but now I feel I haven't really appreciated their full potential.  Who knew pom poms could be THIS good?!  I have decided I simply must make the lion (and maybe the tiger and the panda and the koala) for Dulcie to go in her room... if she ever gets one, that is.
 Looking a bit further on Mr Printables, I found these pom pom flowers, which I also loved, and they got me thinking of the further potential of pom poms.  Could any design be pom-pom-ified?  I decided I would really like to make Dulcie's name in pom poms to hang on her future-bedroom door.  I had just started trying to fathom how I would fashion pom pom letters when...
...I noticed Mr Printables had already created a really great tutorial detailing how to do it!  So I'm thinking maybe a lion at each end of Dulcie's name?  Pom-pom-tastic!

But I need to remember how addicted I got to pom pom making before and, looking at the recent influx of pom pom posts on Mr Printables, it seems inevitable that these would send me straight back down that slippery slope... Oh well, at least all those fuzzy balls of loveliness will provide a soft landing :)