I think mice are rather nice!

I don’t know where the week has gone! I spent last weekend in London with my stepmother – a lovely chance to catch up, indulge calorifically and enjoy the ballet (Matthew Bourne’s ‘Swan Lake’ at Sadler’s Wells). Then I have been researching and approaching some fantastic crafters to run crafty nights out for the Bath WI. We had an energised and enthusiastic committee meeting, complete with smoked salmon sandwiches and sparkling wine (well it is Bath, darling!). My only concern was the talk of working with the Federation…am I the only one who grew up watching ‘Blake’s 7’ to know that the last thing you should do is work with the Federation!!! (looks around nervously for Servalan and Travis).

My stepmother sent me home with a bag full of her mother’s grandmother’s and we think maybe great grandmother’s lace, table linen, nightdresses and bloomers. Some I will make in to bags, as I am doing with the antique Russian embroidered linen I took home with me the last visit.

drawstring bag made from antique Russian embroidered linen
drawstring bag made from antique Russian embroidered linen

The bloomers are going to theatrical Maddie to adorn Alice in Wonderland.

lace detail
lace detail
antique Russian bloomers
antique Russian bloomers

The nightdress is so perfect it is tempting just to keep it as a nightdress, but it might get more use if I were to turn it in to a Summer dressing gown.

antique nightdress
antique nightdress

 

Sewing wise I have been making aprons and lavender bags and some more Ellen mice…I am thinking of selling sweaters separately, so I can reduce the price of the mice….what do you think?

‘If I knew you were coming I’d have baked a cake’ apron.

A few lavender bag hearts and cats.

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lavender bag cats

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Ellen Mouse in grey and white, sporting reversible Spring tunics.

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I will put the new mice in the shop on Monday, when I can take some better photos for Etsy. For now I need to chop seville orange rind – baked in the oven earlier – and boil up the marmalade and pour it in to sterilised jars. I love homemade marmalade! Then I need to get my head around mailchimp for my first Deerey Me newsletter, oh and plant some seeds in the grow house. I guess this is where the time goes…on stuff.

 

 

 

We wish you a merry Christmas…

First things first…or no…actually before that…I must apologise for the lack of attention I have given my Deerey Me website. Such a busy time, I confess I have been favouring the speed and ease of my Deerey Me Facebook page, which has had more than a hint of Christmas party about it. I have all sorts of plans for the new year, including lavishing more attention here.

So back to ‘first things’…I drew the winners of my calendar giveaway. First (Aaron) and second (Emma) who commented over on Facebook, but I was delighted that the third name drawn was lovely Caitlin, who commented here. A Sue Deere Photos calendar will be winging its way to all three very shortly.

Deerey Me calendars
Deerey Me calendars

Most years our house is full of gingerbread houses and yule logs waiting to be collected by friends and family but this year my only request for a gingerbread house was received too late for me to have time to make. In fact my only gingerbread house was a handbag for the WI Christmas Fair…

gingerbread house handbag
gingerbread house handbag

I did have my usual Christmas cake gifts to make and decided to use the spherical bun tin I treated myself to a few years back to make mini fruit cake spheres that I turned in to little fat robins…of course!

fat fruit cake robin
fat fruit cake robin
fat robin Christmas cake
fat robin Christmas cake

My mum is not meant to have marzipan or icing, so her cake just has a hint of edible gold spray and some gold plastic reindeer.

non-iced Christmas cake
non-iced Christmas cake
Christmas cakes wrapped and ready to go
Christmas cakes wrapped and ready to go

I have a little more baking to do before Wednesday and last night was our Christmas street party – a great regular event. One of our neighbours has even put an extra shed in his front garden, which he has converted in to a bar…and this year there was homebew on tap too! We gather around a brazier (not to be confused with brassiere!) and sing carols, drink mulled wine and eat nibbles (the mini meat pies were particularly awesome…). My contribution was these melting snowmen cookies I saw on Pinterest.

melting snowmen cookies
melting snowmen cookies

You can use any sort of biscuit/cookie (even shop-bought), spread a dollop of white glace or royal icing and – before the icing dries – pop marshmallows on a greased piece of baking parchment on a microwave-safe plate and zap for no more than 20 seconds (just long enough that they start to puff up). Oil your fingers and squish a melting marshmallow on each biscuit. When cool and dried pipe on arms and faces. Another time I would use larger biscuits and add fondant scarves. I bought rolos and giant choc button to make hats, but again the biscuits were too small…ah well, we will just have to eat the chocolate.

Talking of chocolate, I made some hot chocolate spoons as little extra Christmas gifts. I bought a big pack of wooden teaspoons and filled them with milk and white chocolate and added Christmas sprinkles and edible glitter; when stirred in to a mug of hot milk they will make yummy hot chocolate.

I was worried that this year, with all the Christmas sewing starting in late Summer, I might be fed up with Christmas before it got anywhere near. However, I am delighted to announce that I was still very happy to decorate the house this week. We have so many Christmas decorations…

Christmas decorations
Christmas decorations

…but there’s always room for a few new home made lavender cats!

lavender cats
lavender cats

Actually, I made so many lavender cats and other lavender bags, I ran out of lavender and had to move on to cloves and cinnamon.

empty lavender jar
empty lavender jar

With all the Wintery preparations for Christmas…

note my reflection in the teapot bauble...tripod and all; very proper!
note my reflection in the teapot bauble…tripod and all; very proper!
Christmas mantel

…it was rather nice taking a moment out to look forward to the new year and Spring with a get well card…

get well card
get well card

I intend to be back here before Christmas, but just in case I get buried in icing sugar and shortbread (what a way to go!), I will take this opportunity to wish everyone a very happy Christmas and/or Winter break.

 

 

 

 

Deerey Me shop is now open!

I am a little shakey and I am not sure if it excitement or nerves, but my shop is now open on Etsy:

http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DeereyMe

It is surprisingly difficult working out prices and postage and wording for listings…and I am sure I will be doing some editing over the next few days and weeks…but the shop is open! I would like to ask a favour and if anyone spots any spelling mistakes or the like, please let me know. In return I would like to celebrate the milestone so if you comment here or on Facebook (I will accept a ‘like’ too https://www.facebook.com/DeereyMe), next Friday morning I will randomly select someone who has commented or liked to receive this Liberty print lavender heart (filled with lavender harvested last year from the lavender we have in the garden.

Liberty print lavender heart
Liberty print lavender heart

Now is the time to enter, while the odds are in your favour…who knows how many likes and comments there will by the next giveaway!

I really appreciate all the support my family and friends continue to give me…

…just a shame the cats can’t be a bit more helpful! I spend half my time making sure there is no cat fur where there shouldn’t be.

Max on the work table
Max on the work table
Max on ironing board
Max on ironing board

little things please little minds

I remember when I was a small child being told that little things please little minds. If this is true, I suspect I must have a very tiny mind indeed. Not only am I fascinated by the little bugs and bees in the garden and the birds that hop around outside the window as I work, but today i have spent a very happy hour or so making mini candles in sea shells!

lavender sea horse and sea shell candles
lavender sea horse and sea shell candles

Today has been one of those days when I have bounced around with more of a spring in my step than Tigger himself. Strange really, as I started the day at the dentist. For two years I have been going back to Chepstow for dental checkups, and I decided it was a better use of my time to go to Mark’s dentist in Bath (Charlotte St Dental Practice, if anyone is looking for a good dentist in Bath). Today was my first visit and not only were the dentist and his nurse really nice, but also my teeth apparently are in very good condition…and they even offered to put my Deerey Me card/flyers in their reception!

From the dentist I popped in to East and got a load of goodies in the sale – real bargains! (two linen skirts, a silk top, a linen cardigan/shrug type thing and a linen dress…go me!). I was very proud of myself as I looked in the mirror and thought…’oh that looks nice’. Not,’nice dress, maybe if I can lose a pound or two it might look ok’ and not ‘you stupid woman, go find a navy potato sack of a dress immediately’…it’s an improvement.

From East I popped in to the Green Street House to book a facial and eyebrow threading as a pre-golden wedding anniversary treat for Mark’s mum (and booked myself eyelash tinting at the same time). A combination of nice ladies on reception, a bit of pampering to look forward to and sunshine before the day got too hot all worked together to put me in a very good mood. So when I got home, I took out my new green milk pan and a bag of old candles.

I have been trawling charity shops for weeks for a milk pan to use to melt candle wax and in the end gave up and bought a new one…and it’s green!

new green pan
new green pan

I looked in to buying wax from craft shops, but it’s really expensive and Mark has quite a stash of unused candles, so I thought that if the pan cannot be upcycled, at least the candle wax can be!

I heated some water in another pan, put the wax in the green pan and popped the green pan in the water; watching it attentively while it melted.

makeshift double-boiler
makeshift double-boiler

It took a bit of practice pouring the wax in to the shells, but I have to say I am rather pleased with the result.

mini candle in a seashell
mini candle in a seashell
shell candles
shell candles
she sells sea shells on the sea shore
she sells sea shells on the sea shore

The little candles will not burn for long, but I think they make a nice little extra to pop in with the lavender sea horses.

 

 

 

 

 

my first ever granny square (well, squarish)

Bath WI crochet workshop

The Bath WI strikes again with a cracking craft workshop! Today we had three hours’ beginners’ crochet at Bath’s premier knitting and wool emporium, ‘Wool‘. Our teach, Sara, could not have been better or nicer – and even provided us with delicious cupcakes made by her talented niece. I think Sara’s middle name must be Patience…it took three attempts just to get me to tie a slip knot! Once I got going, I thought I was doing quite well…until I realised that my ‘square’ already had six corners and I still had a little way to go on that round. Sara undid a bit and pointed out where I had gone wrong – but in a way that made me feel like I was actually doing really well (a wonderful talent for a teacher). I didn’t even finish all four rounds and found at the end of the class I had missed three trebles on round two. So my square is not exactly square and my tension was a little tight, making it a very small…but I came home inspired (and with a bag full of yarn to continue practising!). I sat down straight away and made another square. It was so much quicker and, although not perfect, is a great improvement on my first square.

I confess I was tempted to only show you the second square, but I am going to be brave and show you my first attempt too – in months to come it will give me a measure of my improvement (and will give my readers a good laugh!)

my first granny 'square'
my first granny ‘square

Compare and contrast…

before and after
before and after

I am rather keen to make a blanket…and will share photos (in a year or two…)

 

zips!

Mark’s colleague, Shelley, suggested my book bags would benefit from a pocket. I think she is right so have been experimenting with inserting pockets fitting flush in the lining. I have done a few with button fastenings, but wanted to remind myself about inserting zips. Is it sad to enjoy fitting zips? Anyway, I went a bit zip mad and thought a small purse would be a nice way to use some London themed fabric I had in my stash. I then found some London bus charms…synchronicity!

London coin purse
London coin purse
purse detail
purse detail

The purse was fun to make and I now have an urge to do some fabric painting to turn in to more purses. How strange it is to spend a Sunday evening looking forward to starting work on Monday morning!

 

lavender’s blue…dilly dilly

Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly,
Lavender’s green
When you are king, dilly dilly,
I shall be queen

I have long enjoyed making lavender bags and had stashed away packs of purchased lavender and pots of flowers harvested last Summer from the lavender in our own garden. I decided I should amalgamate it all and wanted it to look nice.

lavender jar
lavender jar

The jar is described as an extra large biscotti jar, and I can’t help but wonder if I wouldn’t prefer it to be full of biscotti, but the lavender is far less damaging to my diet, and I do love the little scoop! I do so like things to be both practical and pretty…!