Thursday, 31 July 2008

Holiday highs and lows

Well another week of the summer holidays is nearly over - especially as Mr Locket has tomorrow off work - although I won't be having much fun as I have to have a tooth taken out in the morning :(

It has been a week of highs and lows - as any of you with children will, I'm sure, appreciate! Lesley thought it was incredibly funny when one morning, at a low point, I went and hid in the tent in the garden so I could phone her in peace - unfortunately it didn't work!

My favourite high point was going to see Mamma Mia on Tuesday - I managed to tag along with my friend and her family and I loved it. I laughed and laughed and laughed and was so close to bursting into song several times - fortunately I stopped myself in time!

And I'm really pleased that I managed to send Gina her mini-quilt, sewn by me but designed and drawn by Daisy Locket who had complete artistic control over the colours and fabrics

If you go to Gina's blog you will see why this quilt was specially for her.

Another high point has been making things with the Ladybirds.

Yesterday Clare blogged about the new patterns she had bought from this etsy shop so I had a chat with her and ended up ordering two of them for myself - this one and this one.

The little Ladybirds and I set about making them together - I did all the sewing while they did the stuffing and designed how they wanted them to look, what colour hair they would have and what gazillionty outfits they needed. They also chose their names and wrote little passages about them Ric-Rac style.

So may I please introduce you to

Millie-May(Dorothy's), B-Boy (Fred's) and Mimi (Daisy's)
currently dressed in their pyjamas as "Lucy" (that's what the dolls call me - so cheeky) hasn't made them anything else to wear yet

And here they are in complete bed-wear

and now tucked up under their brand new blankets.

All their clothes have been made from some recent cast offs from the Little Lockets - so far I have used a t-shirt, a dress, a rugby shirt, a hooded sweatshirt for Boy's blanket with a pocket from a pair of shorts and a cotton knit jumper for Millie-May's blanket. Mimi's blanket has been made using some of the gorgeous flannel that Michaela sent me because apparently ducks are Mimi's "favourite"!

The children have really enjoyed making these dolls and have many more plans for their clothes and accessories - I'm sure you can all imagine how tricky it has been to sew three at once and keep them all happy but I have had lots of fun. Just don't look too closely as these are made to "home standards" where speed has been more important than quality.

Another good thing that I have done this week is relocate the quilt wall to the sitting room so I can look at them even more often and finally get a decent photograph

but now my camera is messing about so the photo isn't that decent after all!

So I think the highs have out-weighed the lows but I wish there was a magic spell that would stop brothers and sisters from arguing!

I hope you have all had a good week.

Lucy x

Sunday, 27 July 2008


It is going to be Dorothy Locket's 11th birthday in a few weeks time and for once I am completely stuck for ideas for what to get her apart from books (as always!!!) so any tips would be very gratefully received!

But FAR MORE IMPORTANTLY it will be my birthday a week after hers!!!!

Now my birthday is a wonderful opportunity for me to stock up with even more crafty goodness in the form of books and supplies because basically I end up doing the choosing for Mr Locket, my parents and my in-laws (it's a tough job but someone's got to do it)

This is where you guys come in....................

what I'd like you to do is share you most favourite craft books with me - the ones I really NEED to get - I may well have some of them already but I'm sure there are loads more that I simply HAVE to have!

(these are some (!) of the lovely books I already have - I know, there are loads, but when can you ever have enough craft books?)

For instance, is Amy Butler's In Stitches worth buying?

Should I get Apples for Jam?

What about Doodle Stitching? Which is the best Japanese book or magazine? Is it worth getting that cute retro children's sewing book whose name I have forgotten?

Or should I save all my money and buy a Gocco printer? Or do I need to be confident at drawing first?

What do you reckon?

I should be buying some decent clothes but I'm too fat for that and craft books NEVER make you feel fat do they?!!!

Friday, 25 July 2008

The Beach, a Blanket and a pair of Bunnies

Today has definitely been the best day of the holidays so far - and the children all agree! After Dot's final Manga art lesson at the local library we zipped through the Tyne Tunnel and met Quiltdude and the young Quilties at the beach.

Now the little Lockets and the young Quilties had never met each other before but they slotted together like old friends and had the most wonderful afternoon splashing in the sea

and burying each other in the sand

while Clare and I chatted and built and smashed sandcastles.

We all had so much fun and we hope to meet up again very soon. Clare's girls are all absolutely lovely and the little Lockets really enjoyed their company - I'm going to be using them as good examples whenever mine turn yucky!

So how do you complete the perfect day at the beach?

Well with delicious ice cream of course..............................

and a trip to the bestest ever wool shop - Ring-a-Rosie. Barbara said she could smell the suncream the moment we walked through the door - then again there were 9 of us! I hope there wasn't too much sand on the carpet Barbara!

I bought these two balls of wool for my blanket - Oh I do love a good ripple! And here it is

I have been busily crocheting at the library while Dot does her art class and Daisy and Fred read/draw/write/entertain themselves. I was aware that I might look rather unusual crocheting away in the corner but I thought it was quite a homely, mumsy image until the lovely librarian said I looked like I was waiting for an execution! Apparently women in the French Revolution were encouraged to bring their knitting along to the show at the guillotine!

Well that shattered my image well and truly!

So obviously I need to restore the happy homely image and how better than with a pair of lovestruck bunnies?

May I introduce you to Alfie

a new bunny on the block for a new baby boy

But don't let his tender age fool you.............................

he soon had eyes for a certain young lady bunny by the name of Wendy Wabbit

(Wendy is rather special as she has been made from Dorothy and Daisy's clothes including the dress Dot wore for her first birthday and the dresses they both wore for their dedication service (a bit like a christening but not quite!) - she's quite psychedelic but I love her anyway!!!)

Naturally they kept a modest distance at first - Wendy was being quite coy

but it wasn't long before they were tentatively holding hands..........................

what a good job Alfie has gone to live a few streets away!

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Gorgeous Gifts and a Giveaway

Hello again everyone! Thanks for all your lovely comments on my last post - they were all greatly appreciated. Ironically that rather pathetic post was also my 200th so in true bloggy fashion I will be having a giveaway but more of that later.

Far more exciting news (as far as I'm concerned!) is this wonderful parcel of goodness that arrived today from Val at Dottycookie.

I was dashing out of the door to take Dorothy to some Manga art classes at our local library when the postie arrived so I had to grab my parcel and run - which meant I couldn't squeak as loudly as I wanted when I opened my beautiful quilt

isn't it amazing?

and in her note Val said "I have cheated a little bit with the extras" - too right she did!

The parcel was full to bursting with all these amazing goodies for me (and I promise to share the chocolate with Mr Locket but he can keep his hands off my fabric and trimmings!) I think I am most excited about the little hedgehog button - it is amazingly neat and intricate - I'm going to have to design a picture around it I think!

And then there were individual parcels for the little Lockets too! Val had made some of her gorgeous crocheted and beaded hairbands for the girls - which they have been wearing ever since - and this lovely pencil case with pens in for Fred. They were really delighted.

Thank you Val - you have been incredibly generous and your parcel made us all very happy!

So moving on to my 200th post giveaway. I have decided to follow Jodie's excellent example and do a "retrospective giveaway" so anyone who commented on my last post has been entered in the pot for a chance to win some crafty supplies - sorry it's not a handmade something but you all know why that is!

So I put everyone's names in a pot and let the littlest Locket do the picking - well that's what I was going to do but the little Lockets started arguing about who was going to choose so I got Mr Locket to do it instead - and out came

So Anna I will check and see if I still have your address and will get your parcel sent out in the next couple of days - I hope you find the things useful!

Lucy x

Friday, 18 July 2008

Giving up, giving in, opting out - in other words, having a break

I realised I had reached a bit of a crisis point with my sewing when I was wishing I could do housework instead! Those of you who know me will understand how extreme that is!!

So I have dropped out of the craft fair at the weekend and have decided to give myself a couple of weeks holiday from the crafting that I "ought" to be doing in the hope that I get the buzz back.

My husband's aunt used to describe me as being like "a bug in treacle" because my life is so chaotic and in the olden days (!) I disagreed - now it seems like the most appropriate label for me.

I need a break so that I can focus on the most important things in life for a bit

i.e. these


and this

(because if I can make the house tidier and more manageable so many other things will get easier - especially poor Mr Locket's life!)

I'm not having a break from blogging, nor am I stopping crafting - I have plans of things I'd like to make with and for the children as the holidays start tonight - but I'm just stopping doing my orders and pifs and swaps for a couple of weeks until everything else is more settled - I hope you will all understand.

Lucy x

Monday, 14 July 2008

A thank you and some apologies!

First of all a HUGE thank you to Jodie who sent me a parcel to cheer me up after my "cheer me up post"

my very own mini Gocco'd bird cage

Jodie it's fab - and definitely cheers me up!

I just think these little birdies are so clever - I want a Gocco machine more than ever now!

As I have mentioned before I have a craft fair coming up on Saturday so I have a list a thousand miles long and no real crafting mojo to go with it. I spent this Saturday tidying my sewing area and then most of Sunday cutting out new wallets and a new idea - "Wendy Wabbit" - but you will have to wait until the next post to meet her.

This leads me into my apologies.

First of all I must apologise to all of you who have left me such lovely comments lately - I really want to be the kind of blogger that replies to each and every one of you and I have times when I almost seem to be able to do it - but then I get stuck when it comes to the "no-reply" comments and the bottom line is that I have been so busy lately that I am just not getting the time to reply individually - I'm really sorry, especially to all the new visitors who have been popping in recently. I appreciate each and every comment so please don't think my silence is from lack of enthusiasm!

Secondly - I am going to have to put my swaps, PIFs and gifts on hold for a couple of weeks until I get on top of my orders and stuff for the craft fair. I have lots more mini quilts in various stages of construction and have started my Russian Doll Swap gift but they are all going to have to wait for a bit - I'm really sorry.

Thirdly I have to apologise for a drop in the amount of blogs I am getting to read and comment on at the moment - again it is down to the fact that I am just running out of time.

We popped to the allotment yesterday evening and it took ages just to pick the strawberries (not that I'm complaining - we must have brought home about 5lbs) but even more excitingly we got our first potatoes!

Oh they were so scrummy - the ones we ate last night were International Kidney (Jersey Royals) and they were delicious! The only problem was that I couldn't remember where I had planted each variety so I ended up digging about 4 different varieties - some of which should have stayed in the ground for another couple of months!

Frustratingly I haven't managed to do any sewing today but I did have some crafty fun because I went shopping! First of all to the big craft supply warehouse near me to get the interfacing, stuffing, zips and fleece that I need for my orders and craft stall and then to Ring a Rosie's to buy my mother-in-law's birthday present

Aren't these wools gorgeous? I hope she likes them - if I get time I will make her a special knitting bag too.

So even though most of my shopping was for craft supplies that I needed or presents for other people I did have fun and while I was out I spotted these two beautiful pieces of pottery in the window of a charity shop - I have a selection of this style of Torquay Ware, I'll have to show you some time.

this gorgeous egg cup has a chip in but it's so pretty I don't care

and I think this spotty mini jug just speaks for itself really! An extra fun thing about this is that it has "Gretna Green" on the back - not that I am planning on eloping!

So how much did they cost? Only 99p each!!!

And I will leave you with proof that I have done a little bit of sewing

a purse to match an as-yet-un-made wallet inspired by all my strawberry picking and jam making!

Friday, 11 July 2008

It's all Lesley and Patti's fault....... and Michaela's too and then there's April as well

My sewing mojo seems to have upped and gone lately which is not a good state of affairs when I have a craft fair in a week and no stock for it.

But it's not my fault.

No, not at all.

It's Lesley's fault for explaining "rippling" to me and getting me hooked on this particular form of crochet.

And then Patti's fault for lending me this book

with this gorgeous blanket pattern in it.

What was I supposed to do? Resist temptation? No, not me!

So in all that time when I should have been sewing I have been rippling instead

which is all very pretty and lovely but isn't going to pay any bills.

But then again if I keep going it might just keep us warm in the winter.

Then again, I reckon young Michaela should take part of the blame for the lack of sewing going on in the Locket household.

It was her after all who got me onto the jam making which meant I had to follow her example and make fresh scones (my new addiction) to go with them.

But then I would have to lay some of the blame at April's door for sharing this recipe with us

I may now have some yummy biscuits to welcome the little Lockets home but what about those orders???

At least my conscience is clear - it wasn't my fault I was led astray by these bad women!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

I KNEW housework was bad for you!

The other day Mr Locket bought me this book

but before you all take up arms against him in honour of Women's Rights I must point out that I did persuade him that I really really wanted it and if I am totally honest he does far more housework than me (on top of his very stressful fulltime job)

Our house is such a tip and I really don't do enough to keep it nice so I'm at the stage when any helpful advice would be very gratefully received. I also find it easier to do things if I can "read myself" into the mood - so reading about cleaning would make me want to clean (hopefully!!!)

At the start of the first chapter about decluttering there was this questionnaire thingy
Has she been here????

And what does she mean "three of these boxes"? I ticked them ALL and some of them more than once!!!

I think my house may have given up on screaming and just accepted resounding defeat!

Anyway, always up for a challenge I decided to follow Missus Turner's advice and start with the hall - the smallest mess you'd think - so why did it take me a full hour to clear the clutter and give it a quick clean?

Here's why..................

this is just the childrens' clutter (there was plenty more including a still packed suitcase of the children's clothes from our two nights away in May!)

and these are the shoes that no longer fit or are in pieces but were still in the shoe box - also note the odd ones......... I always knew this family was "hopping mad"!!!!!! (really, really bad pun, I am hanging my head in shame here)

But look how nice looks now

- flowers and herbs from my garden, unpainted patches courtesy of Mr Locket who ran out of paint (only about 8 months ago!)

and the long view

which almost shows you my lovely 1920s bannisters that were covered with panels when we moved in; and leads me to the main feature of my hall.....................

so here are some photos of the wall as requested - in fact there are three because it is impossible to photograph all the quilts clearly in one shot - I may have to relocate "the wall" so I can get some better photos

(view as you come in the front door)

(view from the kitchen doorway)

(as I come down the stairs each morning - how lucky am I?)

Anyway, back to the reason for my title. That hour of frenetic housework was clearly very bad for me as I woke up this morning feeling really yuk - headache, sore throat, earache, achey arms a weird hollowed out feeling inside and a total lack of interest in sewing(!) - all housewifely duties must clearly be suspended forthwith.

So I will leave you today with my first courgettes from the allotment

and if you were impressed with the productivity of my strawberry plants take a look at my friend Alison's
She had already picked 4 punnets worth and these were only the very best and ripest strawberries - her plants were still laden!

I picked about another 3lbs or more but they didn't look anything like these - more jam and scones need making I reckon.

Monday, 7 July 2008

An amazing mini quilt and proof that I CAN make scones!!!

An absolutely gorgeous parcel arrived through my door today all the way from Jo in Tas - I had only seen a peek of the back of the quilt on her blog

but nothing prepared me for how beautiful the front would be!

It is so gorgeous and Jo has done so much work on it!

then there was this beautiful little card

And to top it all she sent me a copy of Homespun (my most favourite craft magazine - and sadly one I can't afford to buy at the moment) and it even has two of her projects in! One of which she won a prize for!
Thank you so much Jo - the quilt is amazing, now I'm panicking about what to make for you!!!

Moving on to very serious business, some scorn has lately been cast upon my scone-making abilities! I'm very glad I amused you all ;) but I have felt compelled to prove that I CAN MAKE SCONES!!!!

And here is the evidence!

First up are the ones I made using the recipe Michaela sent me

I've even taken "during" shots so you can't accuse me of buying them in!

and a carefully angled photograph to show the height of each scone

and the children had them for pudding - Daisy decided she didn't want any of my scrummy jam this time (strange child!)

Next up are scones made from the same recipe as last time but with a little added bicarbonate of soda and baking powder (and YES, I did use Self Raising Flour -BOTH times!) and this time I made sure I didn't roll the dough out too thinly

This recipe has less sugar and sultanas and no egg - just more milk

and the jury is out over which scone "tasted" best - I think it was pretty much a 50/50 split.

So Trashy, do these look more "scone-like"?????? Or am I still at the drop scone/biscuit stage?