Friday, 7 January 2011

The Longest Christmas Ever and a Return to Stitching

Having begun our family Christmas celebrations on December 10th,
 we finally concluded matters on the evening of the 5th January with a big present exchange!  This wasn't in an attempt to be alternative, but just because two of the offspring were abroad for Christmas and this was the first chance we had to all get together.

So the night before last (and because ripping, not dainty unpeeling, was the order of the day) this was the scene in our sitting room...

With lots of happy squeals and exciting presents!

For me, a bit of Hugh, plus some X-Factor related music, some delicious smelling Molton Brown and Lush goodies, a Jodi Piccoult and a half-share in Kevin McCloud's 43 Principles of HOME (good thing it's only a half-share - it's such a weighty tome I might need help to lift it!)

I like Principle 38.

"Buy some tools and learn how to mend things. Learn to repair, to polish, stitch, paint and refinish.  Repair and reuse what you own and invent new uses for things."

The 'Used-to-Bees' principle, no less!

Along with pressies from Christmas Day itself...

My lovely and much worn felt hat from Hyde Park Christmas Market
Because Miss U-t-B's knows how much I love University Challenge
Can't wait to get started on a project from here...
Lots of lovely ideas in here!
And the prettiest of coffee cups!
What a lucky girl I am!

So that was Christmas!  It's all packed away now, so the house looks a little bare and forlorn, especially given the grey and miserable rainy weather. Never mind - I've got those books to lead me into new and exciting projects!

So the return to stitching!  For that I need to go back in time, to earlier in the day of the 5th.  Did you spot the vintage gondola basket in the corner of the first photo?

 This was one of my 'bright' and 'that'll be quick' present ideas.  You can probably guess from the inverted commas how it turned out...

I began bright and early in the morning with a selection of 4 half metre lengths of Cath Kidston fabric and an old woollen Witney blanket (for cosy lining).  The idea was to make 6 pairs of guest slippers for the girlfriend of Mr U-t-B's son, who is mad about CK and has just moved into a house with chilly floors!  

I was using a pattern, but couldn't find any reference to whether it had seam allowances included, and seemed unable to engage my brain in the bleary early morning to make a sensible decision about this based on the size of my own foot.  I zoomed ahead and cut out a pair from each fabric.

So all morning I toiled happily.  

How sweet and DAINTY they looked...

Slippers fit for a Jane Austen heroine, I was thinking.

Hmmm...Even the men's version (my own pattern) look rather , dare I say it, small...

And with my (grubby- sorry) slipper beside them the full truth dawned. The pattern obviously didn't have a seam allowance.

So I made a new pattern and started over, on just two pairs this time!

By about six o'clock (offspring due at seven), the gondola basket contained three pairs of slippers, only one of which will fit adult guests, and my ironing board was littered with the detritus - two more nearly-finished pairs for children (or Jane Austen heroines) and one enormous pair that would do well for the Incredible Hulk.

Good thing the recipient is a lovely girl, who appreciated the effort and is happy to wait for the remaining pairs, once I've made them!

So back to the sewing machine!


  1. Weren't you a lucky lady to receive all those goodies? Love, love, love the coffee cup.

    Well done with the slippers. I personally think they look too good to wear so if I received them I wouldn't mind just leaving them in the basket on display.

  2. those slippers are totally gorgeous - what a lovely lovely present.

    There were lots of big heavy books exchanged here at Christma too & I got the Matt Cardle CD too ! Lovely Matt - I have a huge phone bill thanks to him ! ( he was worth it )