Friday, 25 November 2011

Half-finished


It was only when Nina very sweetly emailed to ask if all was well that I realised that I'd taken something of an unintended blog break. Time has galloped away in the way that it so often can in the run-up to Christmas. However, it's a time of year that I love and although I'm a little overwhelmed by the number of things I'm hoping to achieve in the three weeks before the Christmas school holidays begin, there's also something lovely about the cosy chaos of industry, and even the unsightly mound that begins to form on top of my wardrobe as a stash of gifts begins to stack up.


The two pictures above are part of a project that's taken up the vast majority of my time. It is a gift for one of my deliciously lovely nephews, but from the moment I dreamt it up (or half dreamt...actually I woke up one morning at 4am and spent two hours planning it out in my head) I also decided to write it up as a pattern...for that reason it's taking several times as long as it might.


Unbelievably, for it now seems like a lifetime since I began, I am still working on my mother's silk quilt. I've been trying to fit it in around around other things and so last weekend hand-quilting the flowers took place during the visits of two different groups of lovely friends. Obviously, this way of working isn't ideal...it's only in retrospect that I can see that my stitches may not have been quite as neat as they appeared in the cosy fog of good company and a few glasses of wine.


And then there is the advent calendar tutorial that I'd hoped to write after a few requests for it following my handmade calendar from last year. Even though much of the work has been done and templates and pattern pieces have all been completed, somehow I think this may be one for next year as there's little point to an advent calendar tutorial shared on the 1st December. My only hope is that I will at least manage to finish the sample calendar so that it can be used from December 1st. I'll let you know who it's for and what will go inside it if that actually happens.

I have so many things still to do and make over the next three weeks that a few days ago I even found myself looking into buying new aprons for my children, because they have outgrown the ones that I made for them and I don't think that I'm going to find the time (and by this I mean that of course the time does exist, but possibly in a way where in finding it I may also drive myself slightly loopy) to make them myself...this feels quite foreign and most unreal...how can there not be time to run up two little aprons? And then I discovered how difficult it is to find aprons for older children that are over 3ft high. Just in case you find yourself in the same predicament I found some goodies on Not on the Highstreet here and also here (they have a fantastic selection for older children with non-babyish aeroplanes, apples and elephants on). I still haven't ordered them yet as I'm finding the idea of buying something that I should really make a traumatic one...and just in case you're wondering if I couldn't have whipped a few up in the time it took me to search on the internet for them, I've just wondered that myself, but then remembered that the bulk of my searching took place at around 5am one morning. A search that was somewhat more sociable than the roar of my sewing machine springing into action for an early morning wake-up call.

On the apron front, have your children (if you have any) been utterly inspired by the Junior Bake Off? We weren't aware it was airing at the time, but we have since fallen in love with it (as well as the adorable and very accomplished winner, Freya) while watching it on iPlayer. It has set off a flurry of independent baking in our house and my children are currently devising their own in-house bake off for this weekend where parents must try and out-bake their own children and vice versa. Judging by the appearance of the scones that they rustled up earlier this week I would be a very unlikely winner (scones are my weakness: they never rise and rarely look tempting. By contrast, my children's looked golden, delicious and well-risen on their first attempt). Oh and does anyone have Mary Berry's Great British Bake Off: How to Bake? Is it wonderful and full of baking secrets?

Florence x

12 comments:

  1. I didn't realise that the junior bake off was on now, thanks for letting us know! I'm attempting to make an advent calendar very similar to the one you posted about last christmas, but without a pattern. Wish me luck!

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  2. My daughter loves the Bake off- Junior and Adult versions and we gave her the book from a subscription offer- it is not by Mary Berry, but Linda Collister. Daughter was happy with it but a better baking book is Mary Berry's Baking Bible- not as pretty, or as many pics but better baking

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  3. Both my children loved Bake Off and Junior Bake Off and were inspired to do much more cooking as a result. Happy days!

    We bought C the Bake Off book for his birthday (he turned 12) and he loves it and has been working his way steadily though it. It is not a child's book but the recipes are totally manageable by a 12 year old on his own - which makes it perfect for him as he feels - quite rightly - too old for many things aimed specifically at children. I'd highly recommend it.

    N xx

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  4. We were gripped by junior bake off, both me and my daughter were rooting for Freya, she was so gorgeous. And good - put my baking skills to shame!!

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  5. All your projects look intriegueing!
    As time rolls on there becomes less and less moments to sew, which can be a headache at this time of year!!
    Have a good weekend xx

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  6. Glad all's well! On both sides of my family there's a real rash of birthdays at this time of year, and somehow I never manage to start my gift-making quite far enough in advance. I'm not attempting anything on the scale of your projects, but am still feeling overwhelmed! Your Slouchy Make-up Bag pattern is proving its worth all over again, by the way.

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  7. We love the great british bake off - lovely to watch something together. I have actually bought the book for my daughters 13th birthday on wednesday (her first cookbook). I too have 2 aprons to make for xmas and am struggling to find the time, i have at least got my fabric but fear there will be some late night sewing going on.
    I love the sneaky peeps of your mums quilt.

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  8. Hmm, I know what you mean regarding things to be done before Christmas. I still feel as though I'm doing the things I was supposed to have done during the summer!!! Pinnies are essential in our house too, which is why I took to designing them. Let me know if you fancy looking at the ones in my shop. Regarding your scones... my mum swears by putting warm milk not cold into your mixture, and I must say her scones are better than mine (although that may be due to the fact I have a 7yr old or a 3 yr old helping out!). Happy cake eating!

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  9. I loved the junior bake off! I caught odd bits on the iPlayer as my oldest, aged 3, could not have been less interested in the whole thing. Pah.

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  10. I just had a thought about the aprons: maybe you could manage to turn out a couple of completely plain but appropriately sized aprons in time?? Then give them to your kids along with supplies for adding their own decorations (fabric crayons/stamps/etc). Less work for you, more fun for them! (Or maybe someone on Etsy can do plain aprons for you.)

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  11. Had no idea there was a junior bake off. I keep umming and ahhing to enter the adult version. But we have a little secret that will prevent next year from being the year. The Bake off book is great. Try the Cherry Bakewell cupcakes, they are delicious. (If you don't have an apple corer, an icing nozzle works just as well too scoop out the middles.)

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x