Friday, 18 April 2008

I have moved

Just a bit of copy catting really, but basically i have heard good things about word press so decided to give it a go. I am not a natural at anything technical so it doesnt look how i want it to look yet, but i will keep playing around and hope that you can follow me over to my new site at

Sunday, 13 April 2008

First on line sale

So i have had to remove an item from my etsy shop as it is sold!!!!!!!!! Hoorah but not through etsy through facebook can you believe it, so this lovely ring is off to it's new owner.
I have finished the bag for my friend Liz, photos later. Right now i have to send my little boy off dressed as a King to a fifth birthday party.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Another day another diagnosis

So, yesterday evening was spent holding martha whilst she screamed and screamed in pain for about 45 mins - hour. she wouldnt eat even though she was asking for food, and i could not calm her down at all. I gave her some pain relief and she seemed to get better. Sleep was a problem but then when isnt it with martha. But for her she didnt do too badly, only to be sick again this morning. After she had been sick mood much better and went on to eat a yoghurt and a slice of toast

So back to the docs i go. Coeliacs is ruled out as she hasnt had much diarrhoea and it definitely isnt a bug. It looks likely to be gastritis. When she was little, she had very bad silent reflux which made her scream in agony for hours until they took her off dairy and gave a special formula. So it could be another food intolerance that is making her like this or it could be that her level of yoghurts have increased and that is making her stomach react becuase she is not fully over the milk intolerance as i thought. Whatever i hate vomit and seem to be dealing with it a lot. She is now on strong anti acids until the referral date comes through.

I feel really sorry for oliver who is having to cope on his own a bit with martha being so ill all the time especially this morning when i had to farm him off on somebody else to take him to school. He didnt know whether he was coming or going and i feel incredibly guilty at how much he is having to put up with. I will take them both to the dreaded Macdonalds for tea. nothing like junk, inedible, as unhealthy as it comes, food to make a child feel better.

Does anybody else occasionally take their child to macdonalds and suffer guilt for it afterwards???? I find myself making loads of pasta sauces and butternut squash soup for days afterwards to counter balance the badness.

Anway not a lot of crafting going on but thought i would give an update on martha.

Just before we got the train to london last week

Monday, 7 April 2008

Another day another doctors appointment

So last night we spent up with martha again, who was vomiting constantly all night. this is the 4th time this has happened in about 6 weeks. went to my GP today and said i really REALLY dont think that this is a tummy bug. She hasnt seen any of her friends, Oliver has been off school on easter holidays and you dont get repeated tummy bugs unless there is something else going on. He agrees with me whole heartedly. So on the plus side i do not have to keep her away from everybody as she is not contagious and her ears and chest are finally ok. On the down side we are being referred to a gastro specialist as she may have either a stomach ulcer or coeliacs disease. the latter apparently is the most likely as she has asthma, eczema and other food allergies. I am slightly shell shocked at the minute and wondering what the hell i am going to give her to eat when we already have to steer clear of eggs, pulses nuts and not give too much milk.

However as she has had a lot of antibiotics in the last two months it could be that she has become intolerant to penicillin. We are hoping it is this one.

Sorry rant over, I know some mothers have a lot more to deal with than i do. If it is coeliacs it is a bloody good job i can cook. I think caffeine and a bar of chocolate are in order. thankfully Oliver got to go to Eco World today as my mum took him. Last weeks visit was cancelled due to martha being ill with something else. It is difficult not to feel like i am doing something wrong

Saturday, 5 April 2008

My first canvas

Woo hoo i found the missing bit to the camera when i was sorting out my sewing room. well actually it is the spare room come library come sewing room come office. As my brother in law and his new girlfriend are coming to stay this afternoon, I have been frantically tidying and trying to find the bed hidden beneath purchases. Do you find having a clear out makes you want to make more things? I feel so eager to get sewing now i can sit in space rather than fight may way through clutter with pins sticking in my feet

Anyway, after an argument with a cheap staple gun from eBay here is my first attempt at wall art. It actually looks better than this but where it is positioned above my fire place, it isn't easy to get a good enough picture. Anyway i have had lots of compliments

I am now off to make chocolate and chili ice cream. Did i ever give you the recipe for that i cant remember, I will if you like as it is lovely and although quite lengthy to make does not require an ice cream machine
Enjoy the weekend everyone

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

camera broken

So a bit seems to have fallen out of the camera and it now wont work. Where it fell out and how it fell out, who knows. But anyway i have made some lovely lovely stuff and cannot take photos of it. Boo hoo

We are surviving the Easter holidays - just and are hopefully off to Eco World tomorrow and then Andrew and i are taking the children to London on Friday to see the Doctor Who exhibition. I am also hoping to get a glass of champers at the new bar in St Pancreas but we will have to see how tired the children are.

I am about to cover my first canvas with fabric and am trying to design a bag for my friends birthday party using these gorgeous handles from the lovely lisa

Hope you are all having a fun time

Friday, 28 March 2008

Ideas no time to make

hello everyone, so sorry for the delay in posting. Martha's health decided to deteriorate again and so Martha and i spent Easter Sunday night in hospital with her attached to a drip, which had an alarm that went off hourly. However she seems to be on the mend and i have just come back from taking my mum and both children out to lunch which was great fun. Although Oliver's toilet humour (he is 5) got a tad loud, and Martha emptied the contents of my mums purse on the floor and threw it at my coffee. But anyway.

Although it has been a stressful time with Martha (when isn't it??) I have managed to read some fantastic blogs so i thought i would point to them

marmadaisy - the creative queen is now making knickers and they are so much fun
Suzanne - don't just read the article i am pointing to, keep reading through them all and you will understand the new banner in my side bar which i keep meaning to write about but life takes over
Ali - just fab
There are many more but these are the ones that i have really enjoyed whilst i have been going through the past few weeks with Martha. they have kept me sane and Susanne keeps my brain active.

So what am i up to, well i have finished a basket bag and sold it. Photos in next post. I am working on the ring tutorial and am about to cut out some fab t-towels i got in Paperchase to make a glasses case for the craft fair.

I have also just purchased Complete Guide to Knitting and Crochet. It is a superbly written well illustrated book that i would highly recommend. it has beautiful patterns for headbands and hats that i feel i really must make. so off i went in search of crochet hooks and more wool only to come home and find it completely impossible to do anything apart from the initial chains. Can anybody help, it is driving me insane.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

Ring mad

So i have made another beaded ring which i am really really happy with. Not sure whether to put it in my etsy shop or to wait for the craft fair. I am also working on a basket order which is in such fantastic fabric it will be a shame to see it go.

Not only that but I have just finished painting the chimney breast in the living room. We had a new fire place put in a few months ago and i have only jsut got round to decorating the wall. I was inspired to do it after buying a fantastically mad lamp and a fluffy bean bag. When the room is finished i will post pictures.

I also want to try my hand at fabric covered canvases so that i have something original for the wall. I bought two blank ones for my children the other week and they had such fun painting them to put on their walls. I thought it would be a funky idea to buy some designer fat quarters off Ebay in maybe a Martin miller fabric (s) and cover four small canvases and put them on the wall as a whole piece of art, in an Andy Warholesque fashion. I have just been reading up on it in the MArch edition of Sewing World and it looks a really exciting thing to do. Although i need a staple gun!!! Even though andrew works for a design company apparently they dont own one that i can borrow, so ebay here we come.

Anyway here are some photos of the ring.

Sorry about the last photo an experiment on photoshop that went wrong. Anyway if anybody likes my rings i was thinking of writing a tutorial on how i make them. Obviously not difficult as i wouldnt be able to do it. I will give away the finished ring to a random person who comments on that particular post. Anyway let me know

Happy Easter

Friday, 21 March 2008

Ever though you would utter the words

Sometimes being a mother means you say the strangest things. I have just uttered the words

" yes you can go in the light box but dont eat your doughnut in there"!!!!!!!!!

Family life eh!!

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Four Things I'd.....

I have been tagged by Anna (congrats by the way on the Amy Butler competition Anna) with a four things Meme which sounds like fun so here we go

Four Films I would watch over and over

Last of the Mohicans
Die hard (sorry just love them to bits)
Unbearable Lightness of Being
The English Patient

Four Places I have lived

St Albans (Hertfordshire)
Leatherhead (surrey)
Toddington (beds)

Four Shows I watch

Ashes to Ashes
Master Chef

Four Places I have been

Mexico City

Four People who email me

My mum
Liz (friend in the village)
Book Groups (friends in the village)
danielle (cousin)

Four things i Love to eat

dark Chocolate
Organic Peanut Butter
Crisp and dip (although i dont really due to waistline but would if i could)

Four Places I'd rather be

In the pub with friends for a lazy lunch sans enfants
Starbucks reading and drinking americano with whipped cream
On holiday with family
In the bath reading with a glass of wine

Four things i have to look forward to this year

Holiday in france with family and Liz's family
New Kitchen
Making more things
Childrens' exploits

I now have to tag four people so i choose but i am feeling lazy so can i leave it open for anybody to do please. Especially those new to blogging as it nice to find things out about people.

Happy Easter

Friday, 14 March 2008

Photoshop Play

So with a few tips from my friend Cath and finding the close up button on my camera (doh) I have been having a go at taking my own photos and then playing with them in photoshop, following the directions from Lisa in Craft boom and it has to be said i am quite pleased with the results. It was supposed to have a similar coloured scarf behind it but i didnt have the ring close enough to it, so when i came to the crop crop crop cropping bit it needed to go really. I am really chuffed with the white background i have achieved and with the way the colours of the ring have come out.This is how the photo looked orginally

As you can tell i am having a ring frenzy at the moment and this one is for my mum to go with an orange jacket she has. Once again the beads are threaded on using a complimenting colour jewellery wire. I have put a couple in my etsy shop but the rest i am saving for the craft fair. This weekend though i shall be making friends with my sewing machine again and taking it out of its short hibernation.

I must be mad because this evening after school instead of just taking oliver to his swim lesson i am taking martha in as well. A large G&T at the ready please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Latest Ring

So i have finished the beaded ring as i mentioned before and although i had several attempts at photographing it they were all useless so thankfully Cath has put her expertise onto it and look at the result

The beads are sewn on using jewellery wire. I did try thread but it just doesnt keep the shape and then you have the worry that it might break. cath is busily taking a photo of another ring i have made using beads whilst i am trying to get my act together to make more hairslides and oven mitts. peg bags and pin cushions for the craft fair in a few weeks.

Oliver was 5 last week and was desperate for a T-Rex cake so who was i to refuse. Not a bad effort eh??

Monday, 3 March 2008

Partners in craft

Cor how naff a title is that. So after having a nightmare of a Friday and Saturday in the hospital with Martha who has been really poorly and had her first febrile convulsion on Friday, I have been really excited today by the photos my friend Cath has taken of my handmade jewellery. As i mentioned before i have been really impressed by marmadaisy's stuff and thought i would have a go myself in readiness for the Spring Craft fair in Toddington. However, I am so so so useless at taking photos - something i am sure you have gathered by now. Cath however is extremely talented in this area, just look here She makes fantastic calenders and cards, which sell really quickly in the village. Anyway she has made my little efforts look brilliant. So i am off to make some more beaded rings which involve sewing them in. I had my first attempt last night but the wire snapped so will be trying again today with tougher stuff

This is a hairslide using three daisy pendants

Another hairslide using leopard print yo yos with matching yellow buttons

An assortment of rings using buttons as the decoration.

Since starting this post i have finished a ring which has the beads hand sewn with jewellery wire and it looks fantastic. I will have a go at taking a photo myself but may well pass it on to cath for her expertise. I would really like to know your opinion on my efforts so far.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Happy Mothers day

This is to all mums out there for attempting the toughest yet most rewarding job of all. (and this is from me who spent the weekend in hospital with a poorly daughter). Enjoy your day mums

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Weight loss

So if you remember a life time ago, I was going to give up all things nice, i.e. caffeine, chocolate and alcohol. I did this for two weeks and also focused on eating high protein and low carb. Obviously the caffeine chocolate (but only dark) and alcohol have come back in becuase i am human and need to function. But on the other side, high protein low carb - i have lost 18lbs!!!! Woo hoo. So i am finally pre pregnancy weight, just an extra stone to go!!!

Anyway, i have signed up to do the three craft fairs in the village this year and will be working towards selling cheaper stuff as well as the bags. I have learnt from past experience that people only want to spend pocket money amounts when they go to these things.

So will be working on the inevitable carrier bag holders but also oven gloves and peg bags. have also asked permission from the fabulous Marmadaisy, if i can sell a few rings using my interpretation of her button and beaded affairs. Quick and easy and very effective and a couple of quid each.

This afternoon i will be making my speciality for hubby's birthday. Beef in Beer followed by Celebration chocolate brownies. The brownies each have a celebration chocolate in the middle so each one is different and every one a surprise

I hope you are enjoying the sunshine

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

What the......??????

My cousin Danielle has just sent me this. Cor arent you glad times have changed, although i think i can catergorically say, i wouldnt have taken this seriously even if i had been a wife back in the 50's Unfortunately as it is a picture you will need to print it out to read it. COuldnt think of any other way of doing it

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Joanna who??

Cor I haven't written anything for an age, kept wanting to and then not. I feel that i should put forward some form of explanation, but the explanation seems boring and self indulgent but i will give it a go anyway. I was diagnosed with depression about a month ago. Things had come to a head and something had to be done. I believe it is a mixture of post-natal depression and post traumatic stress which i was diagnosed with after i was ill shortly after having Martha. After my gorgeous nephew was born, memories came flooding back about being away from my baby and it was difficult to get on with everyday life. Anyway, saw the lovely Dr Neil 5 weeks ago and i feel that i am on the mend.

Consequently i haven't really done any crafting to speak of but i am now getting lots of ideas in my head for my Etsy shop, which i am going to try and get round to in the next couple of weeks. One is for a gorgeous suede bag with this fabric as a lining. this fabric is from Cheap Threads

Plus i will carry on with my wire sewing and i have put my name down for three craft fairs this year. So my sewing machine will be in use soon.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Art Award

So I have been given an award from the lovely Andrea at Indigo Blue, one of my favourite spots for lurking. It is an art award

The Award originally came from Arte Y Pico's Blog and has been carried forward again and again. The rules are simple

  • Post the award on your own blog with a link to the blog it came from
  • Indicate its original link and link to that site. (Arte Y Pico from Uruguay)
  • Pass the award on to your five favourite bloggers - people who inspire and stimulate.

So the award goes to the following

Ali : Domesticali is such a fantastic read. Updated so regularly (unlike me recently) and really funny full of crafty and homey stuff. If you havent found her site yet. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN.

Creative Mother Thinking: Suzanne has a fantastic blog which has craftiness running through it as well as thought provoking pieces on social justice and insights into her life as a mum and music teacher. It is brilliant.

Marmadaisy : I love Anna's blog. the photos of her home are breathtaking, her crafting is beautiful and her posts are plentiful and witty.

Lucy Locket: Her posts are always fun and interesting and worth the read. Photos are always lovely

And of course last but in no way least

Lisa at U-handbag. This is the site that inspired me to make bags. Lisa gives tutorials and advice willingly. HEr shop sells fantastic goods and her blog is as my 5 year old would say SUPER DOUPER

Thanks again Andrea for a lovely award, it has inspired me to get writing blogs and posting pictures again

Friday, 8 February 2008

see ya chaps

Woo hoo i am off here today, well in about half an hour. For a overnight stay with a few girl friends for relaxation and NO CHILDREN. I dont even want any treatments done, i want to sit, read, have a cup of tea listen to my ipod and not be interrupted by requests from a 5 year old and a 1.5 year old. Bliss

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

All wired up

So as promised here are the photos of my first attempt at knitting with wire. Actually sounds like it should be a reality show on the telly doesnt it. Taking photos of jewellery is actually harder than photographing bags but i had a go anyway.

The bracelet is actually just made out of plain knit using a 28 guage jewellery wire which has then been folded over 3 times and sewn to give it thickness. The outlining beads on sewn on at the end. To have a beaded effect running all the way through it the beads would be added on as you go.

I have purchased a french Dolly to knit a long wire rop with which i can then either stuff with beads or silk cord to form a chocker or bangle. I am really excited by this actually. I think the effect of the wire is stunning and different from the normal beaded jewellery. Please let me know what you think.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Disappearing act

I havent posted for ages and ages. It has been an incredibly difficult couple of weeks, i wont bore you with the details, but it has meant that i havent had the time or the inclination to write anything. Things seem to be on the up now and i hope to be posting photos of my new project very soon. I will be collecting my light box from the post office today (hopefully as i have lost my little note from teh postman) and will be taking photos tomorrow.

I have had a little break from sewing (only little whilst i got my head sorted) and have been knitting jewellery with wire. The aim is to have both jewellery and bags in my etsy shop. I am so pleased with my first attempt which i hope to have finished today. Tomorrow i will have to start working on bag orders that have taken a back seat.

So hope everyone is ok and i intend to be posting more frequently soon.

Saturday, 26 January 2008

The lightbulb effect

My friend Cath, who is a fantastic photographer was bought a light lox for christmas from her husband. She has since taken a photo of a bag I made for her last year and look how good the photo has come out. The bag looks much better here than in my poor attempt. The suede fabric looks amazing (even if i do say so myself). Off to amazon now to a buy a light box.

Monday, 21 January 2008

Its finished

I am stuck at home with a sick child - fever all weekend and turns out to be yet ANOTHER bout of tonsillitis. So going slowly insane as i am really not very good at being in the house all day, especially as Martha seems to have developed a wheeze.
On a good note i have finished the nappy bag. It was a big job. The sewing itself was all quite straightforward, there was just a lot of it. I have yet to make the changing mat, but as the only terry towelling cloth i could find was in John Lewis at £17.50 a metre, I have decided to have a rummage through my own towel collection and see if i can not cut something up. £17.50 can you believe it. I could buy a couple of new towels for that from the next department.
The amount of fabric involved in this project is phenomenal and so quite costly. 3 metres of fabric for the lining, 2 for the exterior plus canvas, fusible interfacing and the previously mentioned Terry towelling

The bag (above) Phone pocket below

Each pocket is interlined and it has 2 bottle pockets on each side

I am though really pleased with the result and Naomi is over the moon. It was a rush job at the end and i spent much of Saturday and Sunday holed up in the sparing room frantically trying to get it finished. Naomi and baby Michael had to be rushed into hospital on Saturday as he had lost too much weight, so i thought it would be a nice cheery present for her yesterday. mum and baby are fine and my brother is doing a fantastic job looking after them all. However due to the last minute rushed nature of this bag, the photos are a bit crap. I finished the bag at 2.55 yesterday afternoon and had to leave at 3.20 to go and see them in hospital. Andrew bless him sat and cut all the loose threads from it which is a job i just hate doing.

So onwards and upwards in a crafting way. My friend wants to a knitting bag so i am working on that this week, following the tutorial on U-Handbag

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

So sewing again

It has taken me so long to get back into sewing since Christmas. There seems to have been so much to do and caffeine/sugar/carbohydrate withdrawal have meant that i have not been a particularly nice person recently.

So anyway i am now getting stuck into making the nappy bag for Naomi, mum of my new nephew Michael Dennis. I would have started it earlier but i have a superstitious streak running through me when it comes to babies and i never ever want to tempt fate. Does that make sense??

Anyway i am using this pattern which i was lucky enough to win in the Amy Butler sewing competition.

I would show you photos of the fabric but it is now out of production so i don't seem to be able to get any. It is taking about three days to cut out all the pockets and fabric etc etc. I am hoping to have it finished by the weekend.

Healthy eating update - 8lbs down and 2 inches off the waist.

Enjoy the sunshine (if you have it of course)

Monday, 14 January 2008

Welcome to the world

Little Michael Dennis Phelan was born this morning at 2.14am at home. My big brother Richard is a daddy for the first time and i am just so over the moon. Restraining myself so that i dont go rushing around there. 8lb 9oz. Congratulations to Richard and Naomi

Friday, 11 January 2008

Shes only gone and done it

Yup gone and got myself an Etsy shop. Only got two items on there at the mo - Christmas was very successful with my stock. Also currently working on an Amy Butler Nappy bag for my sister-in-law and have another two orders after that. So then i will be ready to put more stuff in it which will be fun. I have heard some negative things about people not selling through Etsy but to start off for me it was the easiest, quickest and by far the cheapest starting point.

The nappy bag is going to be SO SO SO funky. I won the pattern in the Amy butler sewing competition on U-handbag and it has to be said i was over the moon. There is so much fabric to cut out for this one, and on the detox thing i am so so tired i cannot seem to get off my backside and do anything.

Anyway that is all for now apart from Hoorah to my little etsy shop.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

sorry link didnt work click here


As you can see in the right hand tool bar there is a chicken and a banner with the strange title of "Chicken Out". For those of you in the UK you will have seen the big push to get everyone to buy free-range chicken or better still organic. If you havent seen the programme click here. Although i knew about the lives of intensively farmed chickens and as a result buy free range always, i still found the programme harrowing and at times had to turn over as it was too painful to watch. If you havent already, sign up to their campaign you can do so by clicking in the right hand tool bar.

On a lighter note if you want to see a funny story about a chicken click here and go to the lovely marmadaisy blog.

back to craftiness again next time.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Apologies in advance

Just a quick post to say that if any subsequent posts become moany ranty objectionable and argumentative it is because i am on a two week detox thingy. Not a just eat celery and water one but i am cutting out all carbs, wine, coffee and chocolate for two weeks to give my body a kick start.
I drink lOADS of coffee and rely on it quite heavily
I LOVE my wine
I need chocolate to survive.

But hey ho, my waist no longer fits into any clothes so drastic times etc etc

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everybody. With Oliver's last day home yesterday i decided we were going to have a joint effort at making cakes. Something we haven't done very much since Martha was born as she is allergic to eggs and putting her finger in the mixture would just not be a good thing. So having been given a recipe for egg free sponge cake off we went.

Martha had no idea what was happening and spent the first ten minutes banging the cake tins together and then decided that she would just spoon anything she saw into the tin. Oliver as ever was diligently eating the mixture. I didn't take a photo of the finished product as Andrew thought it the best cake ever and ate it.............all

Martha didn't even try it. The thing with avoiding foods is that when you try and give them something that looks like the very thing you have been pulling them away from, their instinct is not too eat it. hey ho Oliver had fun which was the point of the exercise. (yes i know my kitchen looks awful it is on our to do list for 2008 and i cant wait)

So off he went to school today after suffering with ear ache last night, upset that the snow i had spoken about, failed to materialise.
Anyway for all of you out there who also have to cook for children with allergies here is the recipe. the cake tastes amazing
120g marg
12og Caster sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
240g self raising flour
150ml milk
(if also intolerant to milk use milk subsititutes for marg and milk)
Preheat oven to 190 C or gas mark 5
Grease and line two 7" inch cake tins
Cream marg, sugar and syrup together and then slowly stir in milk. Add flour and beat until this forms a batter and divide between the tins
Bake for 25-30 mins. Turn onto wire tray and cool
Or bung all ingedients into a mixer and press start