Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Swap and Giveaway

Jo at French Knots organised a Christmas swap back in September. My swap partner was the delightful Kali form the colourful Tasmanian blog Poppy Lane.

The idea was to make a handmade gift that took a few evenings to complete that we would send to our exchange partner. Once we had been assigned a partner we then all busied ourselves making the gifts ready to post out by out mid November. Kali and my gifts arrived on the same day... how weird is that. We both decided to wait until nearer Christmas to open them and it was worth the wait as look at all the handmade goodness that I received... Thank you so much Kali!!!

Everything was beautifully wrapped in tissue paper and labelled with pretty handmade tags. Firstly I unwrapped a sweet cat softie made from the prettiest bright red floral cotton fabric and also a lavender scented house softie. I have placed both of these on the dining room mantle. They are lovely but I especially love the cat. Then I unwrapped a floral scarf a stationary wrap complete with notepad and vintage postcard. Kali also kindly sent me a tiny tape measure with a felted cover which my girls love and a perfectly stitched and very useful pin cushion. I was just bowled over by her kindness and she also sent some chocolate biscuits which the girls also have their very large eyes on. In the bottom left hand corner of the photo above you can see some festive little tree decorations too. These match perfectly with the mainly red and white theme to our Christmas tree.

A departure from my usual colourful display but what with the kittens, the colourful but fragile vintage glass baubles had to be left off this year... just in case! (I did add one though high up).
So a final huge thank you to Kali for being a very generous swap partner. x

Christmas this year has been a fun family time, pretty low key as always but with us entertaining my family on Boxing day for the first time. All went well and although we had veg left over it was perfect as a fry up the next day.

As this year draws to a close I am now reflecting on 2008. I have a book which I write all my resolutions in... It is good to look back and see the same old ones popping up time and time again... mainly... get fit! Sadly I am unfit and as the nature of my work is sitting at a computer, desk or sewing machine inside, I realise that often (apart from my mouth) I don't move much... it is hard to break out of this habit and get moving. The regular swimming fizzled out way back this year and the regular walking did not do much better.
2009 will be different. My main aim now I work at home is to spend more time growing and cultivating the garden. This is good in terms of health and thriftiness (I have been planning the veg growing these past days). I will also be slowing down, rushing less and walking more as when I do I love it.

I think thriftiness is going to be our family word for 2009 and I know that many others will be looking to this way of life too. I found a great blog yesterday about downsizing which has some great info and links about being thrifty and living simply.

I shall post one more time here at The Flour Loft and there is still time to leave a comment today with reference to your funniest Christmas present ever (last post) to be entered into my final Flour Loft Giveaway.
Here is a final picture of the stockings that the girls made for Magic and Paws from their own designs of mice and cheese. The cats are so loved x (by all of us).

G x

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

wishing you all a very....

and thank you for all your support and friendship during this past year.

I have decided to close this blog on the last day of 2008. I have a couple more things to share with you so will hopefully post a few more times.

I would also like to do a final giveaway, so if you would like to be entered into the draw please leave a comment before the 30th December sharing with us the funniest Christmas present you have ever received .

I hope that you all have a wonderful and peaceful holiday with those you love.

with warmest wishes
Ginny xx

edited to say.... just closing the flour loft blog ... it seems the right time, but will be still blogging at sweetmyrtle and commenting on all your fab blogs as usual (you can't get rid of me that easily!)
...and for the future who knows?

lots of love to you all....i am now off to wrap presents and hope i get them labelled correctly as i have had a few glasses!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

taking a break...

Today I am taking a break from working and I am cleaning. I have to be in the house for a parcel to be collected so cannot work in the garden workshop as I may miss the doorbell.

Time is so precious work wise at the moment and when the girls are at school and I feel like I have to and need to work at 100% capacity, thus leaving the housework and general home duties to one side. Alas at times I look around and see the build up of clutter and dust. Today I thought, enough is enough, so as I have to be in the house, I have donned my cleaning apron and with dusters in hand and broom and hoover to the ready I am gradually working my way around the house. I know that once completed I shall have renewed energy too and a better environment in which to return to my work. Having cats and a husband with a slight allergy to them means that I need to keep on top of the cat hair situation. I am also washing their bedding today and have the nets down for a pre Christmas clean.

I have really enjoyed visiting many of your blogs this week and to share all your wonderful Christmas preparations. Mine are a little slow but I now have a list!! hurrah!
My camera battery in flat so no pictures of my cleaning fest for you but I will leave you with some links.

My friend Annie who gave me this beautiful blue tit now has a website here. The birds are amazing as are her dolls. Please go check it out.

I have really enjoyed Nicky's festive pictures today and she has a competition coming up at the end of the week which I suspect will have a fabulous prize as her work is stunning.

Karon at Dream Acres is holding a giveaway too... lots of lovely scented goodies offered to a lucky person.

All this talk of giveaways makes me want to do one too. Pop back soon and I shall try to rustle one up.....

Have a great day whether cleaning, sewing, working or relaxing.
ginny x

Friday, December 05, 2008

December 5

I like Fridays... the end of the week and the promise of time spent with the family at the weekend, chilling out, eating pizza and watching trashy tv. My favourite Saturday programme is Merlin. VERY loosely based on Authurian legend. I always make time to sit down and watch it with the girls. They like sharing the experience with me. We have a giggle as King Uther has banned the practice of magic. One of our cats is called Magic so the girls think this is great fun and say.. 'Magic not allowed'!

This weekend is the School Christmas Fair. I like to help out but this year we are just going to enjoy attending it and support it in that way. They have gone to school in Mufti (no school uniform) today with a gift of small goodies for the fair in return for this treat. It should be fun.. wonder how i'll do on the bottle tombola this year. ... maybe a bottle of black tower ? .. my friend still hasn't drunk hers from last year! I luckily got a large bottle of good lager which was finished very quickly by my man.

Today I want to share this photo with you of my wee family who mean the world to me. I have it pinned to my pin board and a glimpse of it as i walk by always makes me feel so blessed. This was taken on Fathers day earlier this year on a lovely river walk. It was one of those days that are not planned but gently unfold and end up being perfect. One to remember when I am away from them.

Have a lovely weekend with your friends, family and loved ones... they are what life is all about.x

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Shop update

I have finally got round to updating the shop and adding the latest flower brooches that i have made...

I have also braved the cold today and finally photographed (outside as the light was good) the remaining handmade decorative dolls and have added them at a reduced price.

Isadora is a decorative fairy doll perfect for the top of the tree. (has a hanging loop at the back of her neck) We only have six left now but they are dressed in a variety of wonderful vintage prints. Each doll has been lovingly designed and handmade by either Alice or myself and we really hope they will find new homes this Christmas. (they are boxed and i could really do with the space now as my studio is very cramped... hence the reduced prices).

Matilda is probably the doll that we have enjoyed making the most. We have three different Matildas left. I think this gold one is my favourite as i just love her skirt which is made from such a beautiful sumptuous piece of fabric.

Lastly our Flora gardener dolls, most sporting Liberty print Tana lawn blouses recycled from Liberty print blouses. They all wear a quirky little flowerpot hat and have an apron to keep their garden twine and seeds safe.

All the dolls are placed on a bed of raffia in a specially made and decorated box. They do make a lovely gift. Please take a look at the website at our other designs.
ginny x

Edit to add.... Author signed copies of our book Sew Fabulous Fabric now available here with free postage to the UK.
We have had a lovely review of the book in the latest issue of Sew Hip and I discovered by chance a great review here at Whip Up... a fabulous site that if you haven't come across it before I urge you to take a look. x G

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


I am so happy to finally greet December...

Yesterday, on the first day of this new month the sun shone brightly. It was chilly but perfect. The best kind of Winter's day. I felt really uplifted and a sense of excitement about all the festivities to come. It was a good to be alive kind of day and despite my huge workload and deadlines I felt happy, and unusually calm.

This past week has seen the kittens finally enjoy a bit of freedom as they are now allowed out to roam. So many new exciting smells for them to follow and a new world for them to discover.
They are so funny to watch, particularly the tree climbing. Everyday since being 'free' they have both got stuck up trees. The neighbouring garden has 3 very tall pine/leyandi type trees. Straight long... very tall trunks with spindly drooping feathery pine style leaves. Well these trees are a magnet to the cats. Yesterday Paws was about 30 feet up. He was up there for about half an hour. His mewing was pitiful. Magic went up to join him, I thought to help him but then realised that it was only to get closer to a bird. They finally both climbed or should I say slid down to safety. I fear that this is going to be a daily occurrence and dread the day when they have put on a lot more weight and those spindly branches break!

After school the girls and I got out the Christmas box and started thinking about making some cards and tags. I had seen Clare's bauble tutorial and fancied having a go with the girls. The girls had other idea and stated making little gift dishes and Christmas cards and pictures using old Christmas cards...

I continued with Clare's tutorial and cut out 20 circles for one bauble...

The next stage I shall make a start on tonight. While all this was going on we were listening to Christmas music.. Santa baby, little drummer boy... that kind of easy listening thing to get in to the festive spirit. Whilst cutting up the old cards I remembered a gift tag that I saw on Caireen's blog which used an old greeting (a very pretty vinatge one), so I saved all the greetings from mine. I hope to stitch them on to cards or tags later.

Do check out Caireen's blog as she is posting each day of Advent with eco friendly and creative ways of gift wrapping.

Finally we lit the Advent candle and I read the girls the first chapter of this book about a boy who buys a magic Advent calender. (more info here).

Happy Advent and Happy December.
ginny x
p.s. please excuse the poor photos in this post.... black cats are hard to snap and it's too much hasseljust now to get the good camera out.x

Sunday, November 23, 2008

all the fun of the fair...

Yesterday as many of you will know was the Vintage and Handmade Fair in Rangeworthy, South Gloustershire, organised by Michele of Cowboys and Custard and Jayne of Country Cottage Chic.

I live a fair way away so made my way down with Alice and baby Rufus on the Friday afternoon to stay with Alice's brother, who lives near Bath. It was lovely to spend time with him, his wife and the 3 children. We were thoroughly spoilt and were even made a full English breakfast prior to setting off early on Saturday morning.

After getting lost, in my usual style we arrived at the hall. It was a pretty hall and perfect for a Vintage Fair. (see Hen's blog for a pic of the outside). The tables had been set out beautifully and each stall holder had a lovely space... it was not at all cramped.

I was excited and delighted by all the beautiful things that were there... everyone so amazingly talented.
Michele, Sal , Hen and Jayne have posted great photos of everyones stalls if you fancy taking a peep just click on their links.

I only managed to get a few photos to share...
Nicky from The Vintage Magpie's bunnies look fabulous on her site and were absolutely delightful to see in real life. Her stall looked great and she is so lovely.

I was so lucky to be sitting opposite Annie from A saucerful of secrets. Her work is exquisite, her dolls, works of art. I was bowled over by her talent. These dolls must take hours to create.

She and her husband are such nice people too. Annie trained in fine art and amongst other things also makes felt pieces. I fell in love with her needle felted birds. Look at this little blue tit who, unbeknown to me, found it's way back with me... thank you so much Annie I love it and shall treasure it.

I would have loved to purchase something from everyone as it was all so tempting but sadly I have to be careful about what I spend these days... still I did manage to buy a few gifts to put away till Christmas.

fab vintage nostalgia from the lovely Michele x

some treasures from Sal, who I was so pleased to finally meet.
We also had the great pleasure of meeting her lovely husband Mr Snippets too.

I also brought a wand for myself from Hesta who creates hats and pieces from recycled fabrics. It is a beautiful green colour with feathers and a bell on... it is for my fairy godmother duties as I never got round to making one myself. I shall have to keep it away from the kittens though.

...and a few cards from Joanne. I have always loved Joanna's paintings and it was lovely to meet her and also see her in the process of creating a new picture.

I also have a little something for Rufus which was made by Carol which I cannot show yet as I think he reads the blog!

It was so good to finally put faces to blogs ...everyone was so nice, thank you for being so friendly and letting me witter on. (especially to joanna!) It was lovely also meeting blog readers, particularly two couples who had travelled a long way to get to the Fair (one from Wales) and the busy stream of friendly folk passing through the hall. There were folk there too that I wished I had been able to catch up with but sadly missed (mainly you Emma).. next time hopefully.

All in all a great day, great cakes (see Jayne's blog) and lots of inspiring people. A huge thank you to Jayne and Michele who have been living and breathing this for months. I hope you both can now relax and enjoy the festive season.

Sorry this post is link heavy but if you haven't already met these great bloggers I urge you to visit them. (links for everyone on my last post).
ginny x

Thursday, November 20, 2008

a bad blogger...

Hello! I have been a bit lapse about updating both my blogs recently. Life has been very busy here, so although i have wanted to do a post i have had to prioritise. My cupboards were pretty bare until today and my girls have been resorting to watching far too many films.
Things will only get busier for me over the next month or two so even if i don't post regularly i shall still be catching up on reading everyone else's news as this is always a treat for me and a nice way to relax.

So what has been keeping me busy? Apart from the usual running the household and general mum duties (after school clubs, helping with homework, bed time stories... etc) I have been making and processing Christmas orders, preparing for a few Christmas Craft Fairs, finishing my Christmas swap for Kali (now posted) and creating projects for a new book due out October 2009.

phew... writing it all down like that makes me feel more tired than i am ... and i am pretty tired at the moment. I am very guilty of staying up late too resulting in being slow to rise in the morning. Luckily my eldest girl is always up early to organise us all on school mornings.

Tomorrow I drive down to stay with Alice's twin brother and family in Bath. The car will be packed up with some bits and pieces to sell at the Fair.

The Fair that I am so excited to be taking part in is The Vintage and Handmade Fair organised by Michele and Jayne. They have worked so hard to put this together and I am sure it shall be a great success and great fun. I am really looking forward to meeting everyone, relaxing and chatting. The bloggers exhibiting are as follows but there will also be lots of other blog friends there to meet too.
  1. Higglety Pigglety
  2. Sal's Snippets
  3. A Little Bit Vintage
  4. Green Glamour
  5. Jane And The Happy Crow
  6. The Vintage Magpie

I shall (hopefully) be bringing Alice with me too and we will bring some books to sell and also sign if anyone is interested.

So if you live nearby please do pop in and see us all this Saturday the 22nd of November 2008 at Rangeworthy Village Hall, nr. Chipping Sodbury, South Gloucestershire. 10 a.m - 4.00 p.m.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I am so pleased with myself as I have finally added some items for sale on our website!

I think it was the email from a lady wishing to buy online and alerting me to the fact that i had only 2 items in our shop, which prompted me to sort it out. So thank you Bevon! I hope to add further items when time allows.

For those of you who maintain a website, Etsy or similar you will appreciate that it's not often the making of items to add to a shop but the photographing of them and putting them up there which often takes much of the time. I have a few items which alice and I made a while ago but due to poor photographs have never made it to the website. I am having to put aside my desire to rephotograph them and just use some of these photos as the lack of both light and time don't permit me to take more and as this is the time of year when we generate more sales i would be foolish not to .

I am also pleased that i have gotten around to posting too despite the obvious difficulties of two cats sitting in front of the screen. When i sit at the computer it is like a magnet to them, as is the external sound box that sits on the table and gets very warm... they like to sit on it... and we have to keep checking the vents in case they overheat and we end up with two exploding cats. They are very sweet though and so affectionate to each other. They are now curled up on the computer desk just in front of me... and i can now just about see the screen.
They also like to follow the mouse arrow....

Orders are still occupying some of my work time and these are a few stockings which I have recently made.

Christmas is not far away now... i can't quite believe how quickly it has come round again. It is Firework night here in the UK now and i expect fireworks and celebrations will be being enjoyed elsewhere in the world too. What an amazing and historic day it has been.
g x

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Our Halloween...

I don't remember celebrating Halloween as a child at all. These days children in the uk seem to get very excited about Halloween (maybe it's the sweets?) and with any excuse to dress up we have gradually got into the 'spirit' of things. The girls really enjoyed making cards and decorating cakes to take round to our friends for Friday night's festivities. We usually get together with friends for food and games. Apple bobbing being the funniest thing ever. ( i don't know if i cheated but i was lucky enough to find one with a stalk this year!).

It has been very chilly here this week and we even had a light dusting of snow... in October.
Baking and soup making has been my reaction to this... and wearing lots of layers. I am now also wearing bed socks at night (for those of you who are interested in an update of my chilly feet)... my mum has knitted me a pale blue pair (very pretty) from an original 1940's pattern that was passed down from my grandma. I am sure my grandma would be pleased to know that my feet are now toasty.

I hope those of you who have been on half term have survived and had a great time. All back to normal routines for us again. I have some stock to make this week for the Vintage and Handmade Fair as time is whizzing by and it's less than 3 weeks away. I will also be adding a few more items for sale to the website which is overdue an update.
Have a Happy Week.
G x

Friday, October 31, 2008

apple pips...

Cut an apple in half across the centre to reveal a 5 pointed star (mine looks like a flower too).

To find out which beau (or belle) loves you the most take out two pips and call each one a name of two possible loves.

Press one each side of your cheeks.

The one to stay on longest is the one who loves you the most.

Wishing you all happy festivities.
g x

Friday, October 24, 2008

Signing day

Thank you to everyone who wished us luck for our book signing last weekend. Your good wishes obviously helped and we had a great day selling all but one of the books that the store had ordered in.
It was so good to display some of the projects and to chat about the book.

I am pleased to say that i made no spelling mistakes. We did sign and write messages in most of the books and as Alice considers my handwriting to be better than hers it was down to me to write most of them!

A few books were bought as presents and we were asked to write things like 'Happy Christmas Susan with Best Wishes.....' etc. The hardest books to sign were to people we knew who just said, 'write me a message'.

We had a lovely surprise visitor too. Willow from Contemplating Change (one of my all time favourite blogs) popped over with her husband. It was so lovely to meet you both Willow and i would love to meet up again soon for a cuppa and a longer chat. Thank you so much for coming. I just wish i could have spent longer with you that day.

My mum and dad came over too and my mum took lots and lots and lots of photos. No kidding. It was like having the paparazzi. She is getting more eccentric with age and i swear she'll be wearing funny woolly hats soon with pompoms on... just because she can. I rather like the fact that often the older you get the more you feel you can get away with. Seriously though both Alice's and my parents have been so fantastically supportive about all that we have done over the past 7 years and we are so grateful to them for all their encouragement. It was good to see them proud of us.

After all the excitement of last weekend i have had a quiet week with the most exciting thing being the servicing of my sewing machines by Arthur. We were so pleased to find him as he has been servicing machines for over 40 years and our machines have had their best service in a long while.

So today i put my purring machine to work and have been catching up with Christmas orders. I finished this Stocking today and it is now ready to send out.

I have a few more to complete this weekend and then i can have some time with the girls next week as it's half time.
Enjoy your weekends.
Ginny x

Friday, October 17, 2008

Book event

This morning Alice came over and we have been in the garden studio getting ready for tomorrow. It's really great to be finally working in there properly, although as you can see it is already stuffed full..

We have been preparing a few samples....

Tomorrow is our book event/demo day at Waterstones, Farnham which has come around so quick - i can't believe it is finally here.

We will have on display some of the actual projects we created for Sew Fabulous Fabric and will also be there to talk about the book and to demo a few techniques and projects from it. .. and sign copies too which feels very strange. (been practicing my signature Em x hee hee... I am very worried though that someone may ask for a message and that i will make a spelling mistake as my spelling is terrible!) I am really looking forward to the day itself but am very nervous so
please wish us both luck. And if you are local , do try and pop in, it would be great to meet you.

Finally i just wanted to say thank you for the comments on my last post and just to clarify... Magic was on the way UP the banister! We are going to have some fun with these two kitties i just know it!
Happy weekends to you.
G x

Sunday, October 12, 2008

oh dear!

Friday, October 10, 2008

a walk into town...

Yesterday i left the kitties at home (they are settling in nicely) and Alice and i took a walk into town with Rufus. It was a beautiful day that had started off on the chilly side but soon become much warmer. I never know what to wear when the seasons are changing and as someone who feels the cold had put on a thermal cami underneath a long sleeved top and a lightweight jumper and then over the top my denim jacket, a scarf and my wool peaked cap which i love. I soon became overheated. The scarf and jumper were discarded into my shopping bag first and later the jacket. I love my hat and it was doing a good job of covering up hair that needed washing.. but i realised how foolish it was to be wearing a wool hat when most other folk were still in short sleeves and sandals. My head was hot. I reluctantly took it off.

We stopped off at Waterstones to discuss arrangements for next week's book event. I am a little nervous i have to admit. The shop next door sells fabrics and although we mainly use recycled, if we are looking for something specific we sometimes use new. We found some perfect linens to use as base cloths for a new project idea. Our reason for the trip was to source these fabrics and check out the charity shops. There are a lot of charity shops in town, seven to be precise. One was closed for refurbishment and two we had checked out earlier in the week. We went into the other four. We found a wool cardigan which we are going to felt in the exact colour we were after - a real result. We also sourced some tee shirts which we hope to repurpose.

I have never bought Christmas cards in October but in Oxfam i noticed these.. 50%recycled charity cards in beautiful designs.

I bought them. It was a morning for bumping into people we knew, catching up, chatting to strangers and of Rufus being admired buy all. I think the sunshine must have helped put folk into a good mood as the atmosphere wherever we went was light and friendly. Alice managed to buy a present for one of her boys birthdays and an outfit for Rufus to wear at his christening. It's coming up soon... i wonder if a 'fairy' godmother should have a new outfit? I do need to finish making that wand.

I do love charity shops and have a skill of flicking through the rail at a great speed to see if there is anything there that interests me. This is a skill i learnt when in my early working life i had to costume 30 dance students on a budget of £100. Lots of ingenuity needed there, so i often hit the charity shops with gusto. I have always thought that the less budget you have the more creative and innovative you are forced to be. I love looking at all the bric a brac too but as our new kittens are rather lively decided that it would not be wise to buy anything breakable. I was delighted however to find this.

An original Mary Poppins souvenir song album with piano music and lyrics. It also contains beautiful drawings and features photographs from the film.
My eldest is learning the piano and as my husband plays, we had a little family sing song last night before the girls went to bed.... 'practically perfect in every way!'

Wishing you all a happy weekend.
g x