Sunday, 29 December 2013

Present, opened - S is for Submarine

Ok, so this one is not strictly a Christmas present; in fact it is another seriously late new baby present...  One for a September baby, but that only just made it in the post before Christmas - ooops!  Rather addicted to the machine embroidery and applique thing at the mo, I decided to make some more alphabet name bunting...

A few new letters to design for, and a couple of old favourites...
I is for Icecream
S is for Submarine (my new favourite!)
A is for Apple and...
A is for Aeroplane
C is for Cat - meeow!
Put the flags out for Isaac!
Kate x

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Present, opened - notebooks

My plans to make everyone homemade gifts this year didn't quite come off, so I've only actually got two of these "present, opened" posts to do.  A bit of a last-minute make, I decided to have a go at making some fabric-covered notebooks.  Stationary always goes down well and most people can find a use for a notebook - at least I hope my mum, dad and granny can!
I took a couple of my favourite fabrics and got busy with the scissors and the double-sided tape.  There are about a zillion tutorials for how to do this on t'interweb, but most involved using "mod-podge" (is this PVA to us Brits?).  Potatoes, potatoes, mod podge, PVA whatever; I couldn't be bothered getting sticky so had a go with double-sided sticky tape.  Which was pretty easy really.
I added a ribbon and button for notebook closure...
Then an envelope in the back to store niff naff and trivia...
For my dad's notebook I went back to the machine embroidery and applique for a birdy book - a lovely lapwing.  No button and ribbon on this one...
The second present, opened post to follow (once i can get some good enough light to photograph the present!).

Kate xx

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas, wrapped up!

It's a wrap!  Ooooh, I love wrapping, and I really love leaving it until just before Christmas to really maximise that festive feeling (last minute, moi?!).
Well my pressies are all wrapped up, tagged up and good to go.  I spent a good while browsing Pinterest for some inspiration (that was another post I had planned).  But in the end was seduced by the birdy loveliness that is Madeline Flight's robin-illustrated wrapping paper.  Perfect for my bird-loving family and oh so pretty...
Then I thought I'd toy with a touch of foliage (raided from my Christmas potpourri).  I love the natural look and will definitely be doing more of this next year (definitely in the way I was definitely going to get so christmas crafty this year!).
Meanwhile, the car is packed and we're off to my folks in Dorset.  Last year Christmas was all a bit of a bur, fully in the fog of new motherhood so I'm so excited about the boy being old enough to take it all in - and of course Father Christmas's trip down our chimney!

Merry Christmas!!

Kate x

Monday, 23 December 2013

Christmas, #Tagged

As I mentioned in my last post, I haven't done anywhere near as much christmas stitching as I had planned, either by way of gifts or by way of decorations.  But the other day I did feel a little crafty and made some gift tags.  
I recently became the proud possessor of a set of stamps, so I took inspiration from some christmas carols to stamp out a few festive phrases...
Then I sketched out some shapes and got busy with the bondaweb and festive fabric to add a little embellishment.  It was my original plan to add a little machine embroidery to these but frankly I ran out of time (and the inclination!).
On a further, and somewhat unrelated yuletide note, I had to share the decoration I made this evening.  A few weeks ago I managed to convince the boy to engage in a little foot art with me, resulting in some christmassy pictures I was intending to turn into cards for the family.  But feeling rather selfish I want to keep this record of how perfect his little feet are right now to myself - especially since the painting was done just before we went to buy his first shoes (eeeek, exciting experience!).  So, may I present the 1 year festive foot garland...

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!!

Kate x

Saturday, 21 December 2013

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

It is indeed beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and I have found myself with just 4 days to go until the big day without having written any of the christmassy blog posts I was planning.  It has been a most unplanned absence from Halcyon Threads, but these December days have just flown by.  The boy turned one, so there was preparation to do for his little party, including my very un-domestic goddess attempt at a birthday cake for him.  An avid fan of the GBBO, it seems I am more of an armchair baker...  My vision of a white cake decorated by smarties and piped with 1 turned sour as the white chocolate ganache turned yellow; I panicked and dyed it sludge blue.  With a bath duck atop it was a far cry from my original vision but it tasted good and the boy is way too young to care.  Don't set the standards too high I say!

The lengthy plans for christmas sewing and gift making have taken a back seat as we have spent time with family from Australia, then the inevitable round of December bugs have kept me away from the machine.  But I have squeezed a couple of projects in, one Christmas gift (more about that post-Christmas), and this festive bunting for the boy...
Made with some more applique and freehand machine embroidery, my favourite is the first one...
R is for Rudolph the red nosed reindeer!
A is for Angel
I couldn't really think of an appropriately festive L, so a rather tenuous L is for Light, illustrated by a star...
L is for Light
P is for Present
H is for Holly
I finally hung it yesterday, after an unexpectedly festive afternoon out to buy the tree.  After trying and failing to find trees in a couple of local "pop-up" tree shops, we headed to the local garden centre.  There was an amazing winter wonderland display there which the boy just loved...
The boy walking in the winter wonderland...
I was told I was last minute leaving it until the 20th December, but with the boy and PLH having birthdays earlier in the month I love leaving it until later on.  We learnt an important lesson about Christmas Trees and toddlers this morning...
So now the tree is looking somewhat naked in the nether regions! 
With the decorations up, the cards and parcels finally sent off and all the last minute shopping completed (nearly!), I'm feeling festive and looking forward to watching Love Actually and Die Hard, drinking mulled wine and wrapping the presents.

Kate x

Friday, 29 November 2013

Pinspired - Let there be light

Like most people, I do enjoy good lighting.  For sewing, nothing beats daylight, but I mostly sew at night when the boy has gone to bed, so I find myself switching on the lights and supplementing with a good strong halogen lamp.  After years of bridge watchkeeping at sea and straining out into the darkness it's time to look after my eyes now.

Lamps I love, lamps are easy.  But I struggle to find attractive and functional overhead lighting, especially lampshades that will fit onto the light fittings in our rented home.  Our dining room and sitting room are both besmirched by spectacularly unpleasant, dust-collecting uplighter shades.  I hate them and would love to replace them with something a little easier on the eye.  Of late I have found myself browsing Pinterest for a little inspiration.  Wow, there are some amazing lightshades out there, and frankly, some rather astounding prices too.  

Always a fan of the crafty and the DIY (well, the idea of it anyway - I rarely seem to get around to anything that isn't sewing), I thought I'd check out some more homemade options (click on the captions for tutorials)...
Made from plastic cups
Yarn lanterns in scrummy colours
Glam - DIY hack from an ikea sputnik shade
Wire wastepaper basket with scraps of fabric
Stylish hat-shades
Yarn shade - tutorial here
Made from lightweight card - would look fab in a neon colour
Old maps stuck onto a paper lighshade
This last one has to be my favourite - I love maps - not sure what the light would be like through it though, perhaps a little dark.  Maybe I'll give it a go with some lighter sections from my stash of old sea charts.  There are lots of other great ideas for variations on this theme, including using comic books and cocktail umbrellas here.
You can find me on Pinterest at

Kate x

Monday, 25 November 2013

Stocking enlarged

Following my stockingy stitchy exploits last weekend I was keen to make something christmassy for the boy.  I love the idea of a mini stocking advent garland hanging above our fireplace like Henry's, but I don't think I'm going to have time to make one this year.  Not with all the other things I'd like to get sewn-up before the festivities begin (and certainly not before Advent begins!).  And I'm sure he's too young to appreciate an advent calendar anyway!

Instead I decided to make him a Christmas stocking to hang out on Christmas Eve.  To be honest I did think the boy was a little young for a visit from Father Christmas, but I've swept my scrooge-like tendencies aside.  A few night-time feed Pinterest browsing sessions provided much inspiration; I particularly love the woolier creations.  But knitting is not my thing and my inexpert forays into crochet are certainly not equal to getting a stocking completed prior to Christmas Eve.
Some lovely stockings from Pinterest
Then I remembered PLH's "favourite" jumper which he accidentally shrunk in the wash a few months ago.  Pure wool, super soft, felted and ripe for an upcycling!  It might fit the boy in a few years but there is no way PLH will ever squeeze into it again.  So scissors out and the jumper got it!
With my recent applique addiction showing no signs of abating, I decided to adorn the big wooly sock with a scandi-inspired reindeer silhouette.
I wasn't sure how fray-proof the wool would be so I lined the stocking with some festive spotty fabric...

(Our fireplace is waaaay too ugly to be used as a photographic backdrop!)
Working with felted wool was just lovely; PLH had better keep close tabs on the rest of his jumpers!  And the boy may be too young to appreciate the aesthetics, but with a little luck Father Christmas may leave him a few little treats!

Kate x

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Stitching little stockings

A while ago my friend Milly asked me to make an advent calendar stocking garland for her son.  Instead of stitching it myself, she came to stay last weekend so we could make it together.  We had a great weekend - the boys played happily together and when they were sleeping we got busy with the fabric, scissors and sewing machine to make some very small stockings.  With wine, of course there was wine!
After a fair bit of browsing on Pinterest for some inspiration, I came across this tutorial for a stocking garland.  Before her visit I drew a template and made a prototype, then Milly selected the fabrics from my stash (recently bolstered by some vintage fabrics I borrowed from my mum), and we got to work cutting out 100 little stocking shapes, then piecing them together...
After a lot of chatting, cutting, pressing and sewing there were finally 25 mini stockings ready to be strung up...
Something I hadn't given much thought to was how to put numbers onto the stockings.  In the end we opted for fabric transfer paper, although with hindsight I would have ironed the numbers on before sewing the stockings together for a sharper finish.

Overall though the results are pretty good, and it should look rather lovely hanging above their fireplace...
I hope little Henry will enjoy his advent treats from the stockings for many years to come!
Kate x