Tonight is the night. Sewing Bee, 8 pm, BBC2. Are you excited? I've invited some sewing friends round to watch it with me, there's a chocolate cake cooling, ready to be smothered in ganache, and a bottle of wine may even be opened, ready for us to enjoy all the fun.
I had a couple of new courses starting this week - one Coco Top making course, and another Complete Beginners. I thought I'd start with a picture of one of the happy faces that left my home at the end of the sewing evening. The beginners start with a nice easy envelope cushion. They never fail to be gleeful at the moment they finish their first make. I love watching the change in them from nerves as they arrive to a sense of accomplishment as they leave.
I chose Georgina's cushion because I had a serious case of fabric envy over those foxes. I need some of that...
Family wise, things continue to tick by with the usual ups and downs of life with little ones. I'll be honest and say that sometimes, the job of raising children feels like an uphill struggle. Finding a balance - between letting them have fun and not having a house that looks a tip and their fun reaching a point of chaos where someone lands on their head from a misjudged superhero/gymnastic leap off the sofa (oh, the horrors of realising the six year old is teaching the 18 month old some `moves'...!) - is not always easy.
At the weekend, following a bit of a shouty exchange between mother and daughter, we came up with this. Of course, getting them to take ownership of the process did end with it being a bit out of control, which explains the helpful illustrations that go with the rule `no fake crying/whining/shouting your head off' (their words not mine!).
The button jars are heavily back in use again. The basic idea being that buttons are given as rewards, and taken away as punishment. They can be used for treats, such as trips to Fancy (the cake shop) or MacDonalds, or the cinema. At the weekend, the five year old and I enjoyed a blissful hour alone together, reading stories over a slice of cake at Fancy. That cost her 20 buttons, in case you're wondering. The cinema takes 50. Interestingly, the eldest girl has been reluctant to cash in on any of her button treats - she is waiting until her sisters have spent so many of theirs that any she spends will still leave her in the lead. By contrast, the six year old will happily exchange 5 of her buttons for the privilege of being allowed to buy an extra 50p of sweets from the shop in the arcade. Fascinating, the psychology of children.
In an effort to try and encourage them to work as a team over behaviour, rather than see everything as a competition, I introduced an extra jar at the weekend. A team pot, in which they could enjoy extra treats as a team. I told them that on days when all three had earned buttons (for basically having nice manners and not killing each other, and helping out by clearing up their toys/mess) they could each put an extra button in the team pot.
This week has not been the best in that vain, and the team pot is empty.
The snow did not help things. People are always posting pictures of snow based fun on Facebook, as soon as the first flurry has settled, aren't they? On Tuesday morning, with snow on the ground, the girls agreed they would like to club together and (dispatch me into town while they went to school to) buy sledges. Readers in the UK will predict what happened next.
The snow melted by the time they got home from school. Bother!
Disappointment like that is hard to handle when you are little - not least when you've wasted your own money on something that can't really be used until goodness knows when. It was not a happy house.
With the winter grey outside, I have made a point of introducing colour into my daily life in other ways. Bright and cheery flowers, and lovely wool to start a blanket with. I let the girls choose the colours for me - I think they have pretty good taste, don't you?! I do like a bit of wool based craft while it's cold. It lends itself so well to cosy evenings lying on the sofa.
I'm not sure how big I'll make this blanket, or how long it'll take me to make. You can see my first couple of squares. The pattern is from a recent Mollie Makes (number 48). I plan to take it with me to the monthly Get Your Stitch On that we've started having at my local pub.
Here's my progress on my coat. Slow progress! I have finished quilting the lining. It is Liberty silk (swoon) and soft bamboo batting. It took 500m of thread and approximately six hours to complete the freehand quilting I opted for. My husband Mark helpfully pointed out straight lines would have been quicker. Not the point, I said. And besides, now I've done it, I am pretty pleased with the effect.
A big part of the reason progress has been slow, is that I've spent my sewing time this week making #NotJustAnotherNotebook orders. I'm not going to post about them every time I blog - I'll do another update at the end of the month, but keen stationery fans can see what I've been up to on Instagram (@notjustanothernotebook). February is looking busy!
Here's the details of the next night at the pub, should you happen to be in the area, do pop by and join us.
Get Your Stitch On
Thursday 12th February, 8 pm
The Burnaby Arms, Stanley Street, Bedford