Stitching Santa – in detail!

Late again – but I really did need to say a big thank you to my Stitching Santa partners and particularly to the lovely Sheila at Sewchet who organised it again this year.

My first parcel (the knitting one) was sent from Nana Cathy. She has some lovely pictures of what she made in this post but here are mine. I meant to take a picture of the stocking before it was taken off the tree but I forgot. The Santa actually comes out and fun was had moving him around. I love the scented owl – he(she?) may end up in my ‘smalls’ drawer but might just as easily be a nice lavender whiff by my pillow to help me sleep. The lovely multi coloured basket is now full of my pattern cutting pens/pencils. Very useful. I’m tempted to leave the knitted pear in the fruit bowl – it wont go off but I suspect the ‘real’ fruit wont do it any good 😦

The sock yarn is gorgeous! The colours are fabulous, and though there is a sock pattern obviously designed for this I am tempted to knit a neck warmer of some description as it goes beautifully with the wool I bought to make into a coat. All I have to do is actually get the blessed thing made (and knit the neck warmer) before the need goes away.

The hat and gloves have already been put to good use – they were almost not photographed as they had been moved after wearing on one of my freezing cold walks. One of the benefits of retirement, I have discovered, is to make the most of any dry spells to go walkies. Sadly dry doesn’t mean warm so these are much appreciated. Can you see the bat? Nana clearly did her homework and also found my running blog (not used at the moment as I’m broken). Thanks Nana!

The sewing parcel came from the lovely Deborah at Sweet Fallen Angels. The box it was all packed in was almost too good to open – but I wasn’t going to let that stop me!

Quilting cotton, and phone case

Bag, purse, and sewing stuff

Deborah is an amazing embroiderer and apologised for the handmade items in the package. No apology needed Deborah – they are gorgeous. The blue projects bag (anything bag – try to take it off me!) has pockets all the way round which aren’t obvious from my photo. This will be used lots. The little purse is a style I have seen in magazines/blogs but never actually ‘in the flesh’. It’s lovely – even more so because it’s full of buttons and what dressmaker doesn’t like buttons!

Festive colours.

Stolen picture – Sorry Deborah!

There was a phone case that I had to make sure that I still had when my daughter left after her visit! It has a dog on one side and bone on the other in a reference to the cockney rhyming slang for phone. The stitches are astoundingly neat – this is why I’m a dressmaker rather than embroiderer.

I’m not certain what I will do with the quilting cotton yet but it will be a project for myself as the fabric was a gift.

What Deborah didn’t know is that I have a fairly large collection of mice built up since my sister gave me one in childhood – look at the tree decoration she made! I didn’t realise until I came to write this post that the tree mouse had been carefully packed away with the decorations so I hope Deborah won’t mind me stealing a photo from her blog. Isn’t that mouse cute!

What about my parcels? Again I was pretty useless at taking pictures before they were sent so I will give links to their recipients.

The knitting parcel went to The Snail of Happiness. Isn’t that the most amazing name for a blog? The post about her parcel can be found by clicking this link . I even managed to foul up writing her card which meant that I had to put a spoiler alert on the outside! When will I learn.

The sewing parcel went to The Hazelnut Thread (another great blog name – I’m feeling a name change coming on…..). Again I’m sending you to her blog via this link to see the parcel contents. She has a delightful little girl and I was able to include some fabric I bought and loved but was never enough for an adult garment. I hope Hazel likes it!

Well another year done, and a warning for Sheila. My daughter is so impressed with the Stitching Santa idea, and the contents of my parcels that she may want to join in next year. Except that despite my best efforts she can neither knit nor sew. Look out!



…. on the past year – as so many of us are. I realise I have blogged very little this year. And probably sewn even less despite all intentions to the contrary. In retrospect this shouldn’t be too big a surprise. I had a pretty tumultuous year in so many respects – some good , some not so great, some just plain confusing and tiring.

I started the year nursing a grumpy gall bladder. I’ll confess that this screwed up just about everything – including my ability to enjoy much that I usually do. This isn’t news to a great many people. Anyone out there suffering and wondering if it is worthwhile having the op to remove it – get on the phone and get the bu**er out! Life started to improve greatly after that was removed in April.

Then I fell over and sprained and broke my ankle in June. Poo. It’s still not absolutely right (physio appointments made so hopefully improved soon). That shouldn’t have made too much of an impact but I confess that I have sulked big time, and the lack of ability to run has made me unbelievably grumpy. The Management is looking forward to me being able to get out and run again  😉

We did have that wonderful month out to Australia in November where I met Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, and Lesley of Sew,Nip Tuck which was wonderful. It seemed to have been in the planning for ever and it’s a bit of a shock now it’s actually done. We enjoyed it enormously but got home exhausted, just in time to have to buy Christmas gifts for our family in Northumberland. No pressure!

Beautiful – and empty!

We had a mere two week before we went to Northumberland – a bit of a climate change there! We spent a couple of days with friends enjoying beach walks at Bambrough with their dog, and a fabulous trip to Barter Books – possibly my favourite bookshop in the world. My sister loves a visit to Barter as much as me but we couldn’t combine our visit this time sadly. It was lovely to see both mothers and sisters again as we see so little of them. Regular phone calls just aren’t the same.

Christmas was wonderful with a visit from The Daughter. Again, we don’t see as much as we would like but she is having a very different life from us living and working in London. Great to see her though. She was exceedingly taken with the parcels I received from my Stitching Santa partners. These were wonderful and deserve a full post (again, after the new year) but I will say to both Nana Cathy and Deborah of Sweet Fallen Angels that their parcels were fabulous! I’m really looking forward to playing with using the contents 🙂

What next? Ah yes, The Management. Now retired. Why didn’t anyone tell me it could be so much fun? But also really puts a crimp in your sewing time ….. and many other interests time. I love him dearly (most days) but I confess that this has taken far more adapting to than I expected. I am enjoying the slower pace of life but really think I need to jack it up a bit again if I expect to get things I want done. Memo to myself sent for 2018. Still some settling in and adapting to be done I fear. If anyone out there has a handle on how to cope well in retirement I would love to hear your solutions.



Ok that’s the ‘Life’ bit of my blog title over – what about the rest? Fabric? Yes, been buying plenty of that so I have a mammoth backlog of intended projects . Do these count as UFO’s – because if they do I’m in real trouble. I have done some sewing – recently and for our Australia trip (a bit of a Style Arc fest if I’m honest). I really need to concentrate a post to those in the new year (I promise!!!). There are intentions to make more this year (aren’t there always?) and whilst I’m not officially signing up for Goodnight Valentinos RTW fast this year (I did it a few years ago and enjoyed it) I do intend to sew anything I can rather than buying.

About a hundred years ago I did lots of pattern cutting in order to get my City and Guilds qualification and I have very sadly let that ability slide. I was looking at the amount of patterns I had bought in recent years and was slightly horrified. Yes I could have drafted them myself – I was probably lookinng for a quick fix in most cases. No more. The pattern drafting tools are to be dusted off and I will start again. I have rediscovered my blocks (last drawn out too many years ago to admit) and the calico trials – wonders will never cease that they were together! I will be trying theese on to have a good laugh establish what changes need to be made. Once that has been done I will start looking through my wardrobe – that shouldn’t take long 😦 – and identify what I need to fill gaps. And what needs to be passed on. Even when things still fit and are in good condition they sometimes just ‘need to go’.

Well congratulations if you have made it through all that waffle. I’m finished for now – apart from wishing all of you amazing readers a very happy and prosperous 2018. May none of your projects be wadders!

Kim x


Yucky/Lovely December

Oh boy have I had a grotty month – with the exception of the Christmas holidays. I don’t really want to go too far down that rabbit hole but I have been feeling grotty almost all month and it still isn’t sorted out. As a result I have been feeling very sorry for myself (crying at adverts and such on the TV is never good) and haven’t got anywhere near everything I wanted done through the month. All I can really thrill to is the fact that online shopping exists, without which we might possibly have been having beans on toast for Christmas lunch instead of the food that was so wonderfully delivered to the door by a very cheery chap from a local supermarket.
I have deferred some of my client work into January so my ‘retirement’ will be a little delayed, although I will still be doing a fraction of what had been needed previously.

I had intended to have a couple of trips into Birmingham to buy goodies for my #StitchingSanta partners but wasn’t able to do it. I did manage a bit of sewing and crochet for them – the ‘toiletry bags’ from Rhondas blog  which I thought would make great anything bags, and the face scrubbies from the stitchinmommy. Whilst I was reading the comments on Sewchets blog I saw one from Thimberlina who was one of my recipients saying that she wouldn’t mind one of the covered notebooks  – I hope you liked it Ali!

I was pretty miserable when I sent off the parcels to Ali and Hila as I had run out of wrapping paper, the gifts had been largely mail order rather than the Birmingham madness I had imagined, so weren’t even prettily wrapped. I swear I will do better next year and apologise wholeheartedly to Ali and Hila, and thank The Management for his help in getting them delivered at all. I hope you liked your parcels despite the numpty wrapping ladies.

I really was wowed by my two parcels.


Sewing #stitchingsanta

The first shown is my sewing package which was sent by Nikki from beads and barnacles . I was overwhelmed by the gorgeous sewing box she had made, and included goodies too – a matching pin cushion, needle case, scissor holder with scissors, and pattern weights that knock spots off my flat seaside stones. As if that wasn’t enough she included a piece of fabric, a lovely beanie hat knitted by her sister Pippa, knitting stitch markers, and a package with all that was needed to make myself a hot chocolate to have with the macarons she had made. Treasure indeed!

I can’t wait to start collecting my sewing gizmos together into that box – perfect for someone about to change sewing habits to sew for themselves instead of clients. Thank you for everything Nikki.


Knitting #stitchingsanta

Having gathered my breath from opening my sewing parcel I couldn’t possibly have expected the wonders included in my knitting parcel. Jo from Jo through the keyhole had clearly been rummaging in my foggy brain to come up with so perfect a collection. The sock yarn is wonderful – and as it was a gift I have to make socks for me, don’t I? There was also a beautiful knitted shawl/scarf which I will make massive use of as I’m almost permanently freezing at the moment. There was a knitted purse kit which looks like fun, and a dachshund brooch kit with a Mollie Makes magazine (which is new to me) so I’m going to be well occupied once my brain clears. There was also a book called The Great Christmas Knit Off, chocolate, and tea sachets. I confess that reading with a cup of tea and a chocolate is about my activity level at the moment so all of this is massively appreciated. Thank you so much Jo.

This was my first experience of Sewchets fabulous #STITCHING SANTA and it has been wonderful. Thanks so much for organising as it must be lots of work!

I have done some knitting for myself this month but haven’t had the brain power to attack anything that couldn’t be ripped out to start again. My vest is finished and I’m very happy with it (Bessie pressed into action again for photos – you really don’t want to have my mug at the moment 😞). As you can see there was very little yarn leftover – I did start  to worry that I was going to run out!

I made my mum a new tea cosy in a pattern that she must have knitted on more occasions than she could possibly remember. She was very happy, and very amused to have had one knitted for her. The socks were for Jess who loves wearing them as ‘slippers’ (and doesn’t bother taking them off for bed so any nocturnal rambling is with warm feet!).

I’m determined that January will herald a new start, and that feeling better will be part of it (positive thinking!).

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and wish you a fabulous 2017 .

Kim x