Grandaughter’s First Birthday!

I’ve been busy lately preparing for my grandaughter’s first birthday party!

First there was the cake! I so enjoyed making this!

Pink and green and purple birthday cake in shape if a fairy castle

Charlotte’s Fairy House Cake


the two tiers were homemade – Chocolate Fudge Cake with chocolate buttercream and Madeira cake with Rose buttercream!  To cover the cake I used ready made roll out icing and decorated with sweets, sugar paste hearts, flowers and edible glitter.  It tasted gorgeous although it was very rich and sweet so a small slice was an excellent sufficiency!

Charlotte shared the party with my daughter’s friend’s 4 year old and the theme was Super Heroes.  The older children were dressed in capes etc so I made Charlotte a Fairy Costume with Super Baby on the back!

Baby girl's fairy dress in pink, blue and lemon lace.

Charlotte’s fairy dress WiP!


the dress in progress and the dress in use!

One year old in fairy costume with Super Baby on the back

Charlotte the Super Baby!


I was exhausted at the end of the week and then there was the actual party with a giant bouncy slide for adults and children! It was difficult, but I managed to have a couple of slides – fab!  Mainly though I left it to the younger people!

Giant bouncy slide

Me and my grandson!

So when I look back at these photos I will remember we did have some summer this year after all!

Abakhan Secret Sale!

Well you can tell from the title where I went this weekend! Yes, the Abakhan Secret Sale again! It all started with this in the post:

Abakhan Sale ticket golden coloured

Secret Sale Golden Ticket

this exciting ticket entitles the bearer and guest to enter the Abakhan Secret Sale an hour before the general public. I was lucky enough to be sent one again and as my friend and I had enjoyed the last one so much we couldn’t wait to get to this one!

This time the sale started earlier and was in a much larger building with more space to look through all the lovely things. There are boxes and boxes of craft bits and bobs as well as fabric bundles, rolls and bolts. There are also slight seconds of things like foam, wadding and cushion inserts which don’t seem to have more than a few dusty marks on them or a small piece of foam pulled off. I especially like the uphostery ex-display fabrics which hang up on a rail as there are some real bargains £1 a display hanging which has fabric priced at £15.99 a metre in some cases!   It was also lovely  to meet Will Abakhan who had sent the tickets out and was on hand to greet customers as well as helping in the cafe later in the day!

Fabric on the roll

Some pretty fabric – few metres worth

Bacon bap

Our complementary refreshments after an hour of bargain hunting!


As a golden ticket holder we were also provided with a hearty bacon bap to aid our recovery after athe early start (8.30am) and bargain hunting!

After a very tasty bacon bap and coffee we embarked on the next bit of the day – buying things from the ordinary shop with our 15% discount! This proved far too tempting as every time one of us found something and wondered whether it would be suitable the other was all encouraging and ‘yes it’s perfect’ type thing – so we egged each other on until we had to go back to the car to offload all our stuff! The staff were fantastic all day – they carry things to  the car for you and are very helpful all round.

I think Mostyn is the best Abakhan branch of all and I am so lucky to live near it.  In fact I can easily get to the Birkenhead, Liverpool and Chester branches as well which seems unfair when lots of people don’t have a branch at all!

I havent ant got any pictures of our special dessert which we received after our second shopping spree but it was delicious!   It’s definitely worth looking out for the next secret sale in a few months, especially if you keep an eye on their Facebook page and spot the chance to win a golden ticket.  It’s a smashing day out for crafters!

Bacon bap

Marilyn enjoying our breakfast baps



Linking up with Handmade Monday again this week!

Welcoming Charlotte

Great surprises this week! Firstly my daughter had her baby a week early last Tuesday! Labour started on Monday evening while my mum and I were having dinner with them.  I soon found myself bathing two boys, struggling with pyjamas and reading about a shiny goldfish, then massaging my daughter’s back as the pains just got stronger.  She didn’t feel like it was actually imminent so I made it back home and got into bed at midnight only to get the call to go back round and babysit at 1am!

I was too excited to sleep as my son in law was texting me the updates – 2am – 5cm, 2.30am – 9cm, 3am – she was born twenty minutes ago! I celebrated in the kitchen with a tea and fairy cake before going back to bed exhausted.

3.30am ‘ping’, daughter sends picture to my ‘phone! 4am ‘ping’ more pictures! 4.30am I give up trying to sleep 😞 and text her to see if they are keeping her in or not.  4.30am ish I must’ve passed out 😴 5.20am ‘boom’ wahhhhhh’ wail – where’s mummy? Yep, the monsters were awake.  We sat in their parents’ bed looking at pictures of their new sister which was feeling rather special – for about 5 minutes – then it was ‘Granny, can we go and play on the X box?’ – needless to say as soon as I said ‘no’ it was ‘mummy lets us’ .  Ha! do they think I don’t know all the tricks!!  Poor Mummy and Daddy arrived home at 6.30am to find the three of us staring out the bedroom window at them.    😃  As their dad went to get the bags out of the boot, the eldest one said in amazement ‘ they’ve put her in the boot!!!!

my new little granddaughter is Charlotte, but not because of the other Charlotte, unfortunately Daughter had already chosen the name when the royals announced it! She wasn’t very pleased!


My Three Grandchildren

So so that was my main excitement – secondly however was seeing my tweet printed in Craftseller this month!

Page from craftseller

My tweet!



LINKING with Lucy Blossom Crafts!


Abakhan Secret Sale and an E Course!

The Abakhan Secret Sale! Wow!  I am so lucky as I live in the middle of 4 Abakhans!  Chester, Mostyn, Birkenhead and Liverpool!  Yesterday was the much advertised ‘secret’ sale at the Mostyn branch.  I have been really hoping I would be able to walk enough to get round the fabric shops again and although I can’t go for long without pain I am so much better than I was two week’s ago!

Being a lucky golden ticket holder I, and a friend, were  able to access the sale at 10am (an hour early) after having a complementary bacon batch and coffee in the café.  We didn’t rush off at 10 although as other golden ticket holders were getting moving we didn’t dawdle over the coffees too long!  There’s something about a sale which makes you feel like you’re missing out if you don’t get in there quick and get rooting!

We weren’t disappointed – there was plenty of fabric and yarn and some ex-display items to purchase, like wool holders.  My favourite place was the ex-display hanging upholstery fabrics  which were £1 a hanger, and the big box of cut- offs which was ‘fill a bag for £10!

cream,red, fabric with leaves on

the red leaf upholstery fabric

red, brown and cream fabric

the red shades


purple fabric

Purple shades!

pirple fabric

the purple shades


rainbow of fabric shades

Folk Collection – love all these shades for patchwork!


small coloured pieces in varying fabrics – ‘Folk Collection’

I managed to get loads in my £10 bag and found some useful pieces like this cotton with sweetie jars on it!

fabric with pink sweetie jars on

Sweetie-jars fabric


other fabrics from the ‘fill a bag’ box

So, as you can see I have plenty of fabric to keep me busy!  It’s not like I don’t have a big enough stash already, I just couldn’t help myself when the prices were so low.  We were very lucky to be the early ones in though as when we left to go and recover in the café there was a queue right round the whole site!

It’s definitely worth keeping a look out for the next one and registering interest for a discount ticket.  We had 15% discount to spend outside of the sale as well.  Finally at around 3pm we bought some more drinks, had our complementary chocolate pudding and went home!

Fabric shopping, coffee, chocolate and a day out with a friend – what a lovely weekend!  Sorry if I’ve overdone it about going out but after months of pain and limited mobility it was wonderful and worth it even though I limped round the last bit and back to the car!

As well as going to have my days filled with lots of sewing in the near future  I’m doing the Create and thrive e-course which Vicky recommended to us a couple of week’s ago!  I Think the lack of constant pain has gone to my head and I can’t stop wanting to do stuff!  So far the course is really making me think about Patchwork Fairy and how I want things to eventually progress.  It’s a 30 day course and we’ve only had 7 days yet so I am excited to see where it takes me…

Anyhoo – time to link up with Handmade Monday again at Lucy Blossom Crafts – wonder if any of the Handmade Mondayers were at Mostyn? Do let me know if you were!

Making Xmas Gifts!

Gosh it’s been a while!  I have been busy making things which has left me no time to write up my blog!

I am trying to complete an overdue birthday present and anniversary present from the summer when I had terrible sciatica!  This was going well until last week when the sciatica came back 🙁  Now I am struggling again, and also now making a ‘secret santa’ gift for the facebook group I am in – I organise this every year and around 12 – 20 people from all over the world join in.  It’s great fun to make or buy the gift for your person and wonderful when your own surprise drops through the letterbox!  As soon as all these things have been given to the recipients I will be able to post pictures on here!

I managed to get to the Knitting and Stitching show in Harrogate last week!  I won the tickets on facebook from Abakhan!  My lovely friend Kate drove us both there and we had a good time stroking all the fabric, patting the wool and admiring the finished items on display.  Definitely worth a visit – much less crowded than Yarndale and just as good in terms of the stalls!  I booked us a parking space on a drive in a residential area only 10 minutes from the venue – brilliant concept called ‘Just Park’ – local people can offer their drive or land for online bookable parking!  Once you pay online you immediately get directions and a printable ticket to put on the dashboard! We parked for £6.50 for 10 hours and the friendly owner came out and gave us directions to the show!  Much less stressful than going to car parks in strange towns and hoping there are still spaces!

I bought some hand dyed mohair which I have no idea what to do with yet!  Some Japanese fabric squares and recycled sari fabric will be used for xmas gift making!


lovely little ball of mohair!

lovely little ball of mohair!

That’s all for now – and here is a picture I took today in Chester just as it was going dark – that lovely inbetween stage from day to night which seems quite magical at this time of year!

Chester skyline at Twighlight!

Chester skyline at Twighlight!

Now over to catch up with Handmade Monday!


Photo Cushion

I mentioned last week that I was making a photo cushion for a special occasion! Well it was my Uncle’s 80th birthday!   His actual birthday was a couple of week’s ago but as the ‘girls’ in the extended family usually go to see my aunty and uncle in the summer we were combining this trip with the special birthday.

We set off Saturday morning, stopping on the way for a picnic at the Cannock Chase which was a very good stop over with picnic tables, café and park and lovely summer solstice weather.

I had booked 3 rooms in a  Hotel in Tamworth for Saturday night.  This meant we could get up and enjoy a freshly prepared breakfast on Sunday before driving the last 50 minutes to the restaurant for the birthday lunch.  Sadly my oldest grandson was awake at 5.30am and so then we were we all soon wide awake as well! This is after being allowed to stay up late the night before in the hope of a lie-in – no such luck though !

We had a good pub meal on the Saturday night – my youngest grandson was well behaved waiting for the meal as spent the time covering himself in stickers !  Here he is enjoying his pudding!

Pudding and Stickers!

Pudding and Stickers!

The birthday lunch was another yummy meal – a carvery and very good too, followed by crème brulee!   Gosh I was full.  The boys enjoyed entertaining the relatives with their silly antics and best of all my uncle loved his present!

So here is the cushion I made for his birthday present!   Thank you to Wendy for the idea in her post here a couple of Handmade Monday’s ago!

patchwork photo cushion

80th Birthday Cushion

The birthday balloon picture was taken at another birthday obviously but seemed very apt for the cushion.

So now over to handmade Monday and hope you all had a lovely summer solstice!


photo cushion
80th Birthday Cushion Reverse side with hidden zip

Birthday Weekend and Wonderwool 2014!

Well one year one it’s my birthday weekend again and I’m back in mid Wales for Wonderwool.  I loved this place last year and this year I have enjoyed it all over again although it’s never quite as good the second time around!  It’s full of lovely, tactile, woolly goodness, intricate tools to make things with and unusual and individual clothing!

We arrived on Saturday and stayed in the same B&B as last year – Guidfa House at Crossgates, Llandridnod Wells. This is a very warm, comfy place to stay and the hosts, Tony and Ann are very friendly and helpful. We were given tea and date and walnut cake on arrival which we enjoyed in the peaceful guests’ lounge.  Our room had 2 comfy chairs and coffee table – something that I always appreciate in hotel rooms as I don’t like having to sit on the bed all night. Oh the joy of relaxing by the window, looking over at the hills while doing my crochet, watching TV and drinking a glass of wine…, wait …actually that’s a pretty standard Saturday night for me … albeit without rolling hillside for a view!! Oh well I do know how to enjoy myself anywhere!!

Early this morning we arrived at the Royal Welsh Showground and there was plenty of parking and it was not too crowded inside at all,  though with lots to see and buy and lots of people showcasing their crafts – I love watching the spinners, in fact last year I really wanted to buy a wheel and go on a spinning course and I just realised it’s a year ago and I still haven’t learnt to spin!

It’s actually quite similar to Yarndale but more spread out and much easier to see what’s on offer as the stalls are in bigger spaces and more spread out. There are also live sheep, lamas and angora rabbits!




I did really love this rug below though and this wall hanging, both by Gill Curwen of Bapple and Jo Jo – It’s a craft called ‘Quillie’ which is sort of rolling felted wool strips cut from blankets or clothes into Swiss Roll shapes and then sewing them together to make mats and rugs in beautiful shapes and toning shades. I am looking forward to perusing her website now I’m back home!



I was talking to my daughter about Wonderwool before I went and she asked what her dad was going to do while I was engrossed in the woolly world I told her he follows me round then goes and reads his book in the cafe area – she said there should be a ”long suffering partners’ ” area with comfy seats, internet access and various reading material! Wouldn’t that be good?!!

Beaker-button-kit  I didn’t spend too much at all – just some felted wool and this handmade button kit from Beaker Button, which once you’ve learnt how to do it you can upscale it and make giant hangings in embroidery hoops and even hula hoops!  The information in the kit explains that Dorset button making was a huge cottage industry from the 1600s until the Great Exhibition of 1851 when a new button making machine was showcased.  Families were left destitute and starving and many were forced to emigrate!  It is the WI and others now keeping this craft alive – I am happy to become one of them!

Wonder if I’ll spend next birthday at Wonderwool?

Over to some other wonders now – at Handmade Monday!