Thursday 10 February 2011

Double Digits

My eldest turned ten just over a week ago. This had been anticipated by her for about five or six years and, thankfully, turned out to be a terrific day. Her best friend travelled up from the Isle of Wight to spend the weekend with her. The bowling party was a hit. All in all a great time was had by everyone.

In my search for party gifts or gift bags I came against a blank wall as I have a general dislike of all those little plastic toys from party bags that collect dust over the years but - for some unknown reason - my children do not like me to toss in the bin. As I trawled blogs and Etsy looking for ideas I came across a terrific site that made crochet animal head pillows and rugs. Needless to say I failed to bookmark the site so can't tell you what it is - but if you ever find it please let me know!

I decided that I could do that and with a mix of their ideas, some twists of my own and some completely original (a frog and Hello Kitty) I bought some yarn. The pillows I produced were a mini size but a fun little thank you gift for Helen to give out at the end of the party. In the end I made two koalas, two penguins, two owls, one frog, one Hello Kitty and a ladybug. Both my girls insisted on one of their own each so here are the ones made for them. The penguin was attempt number one and I have to say that the second one turned out better but still not bad for winging it without a pattern or a clue!

Once I had the party favours sorted I had to think about the cake. This can be difficult because my best friend in Canada makes cakes professionally. And when she comes to visit she creates masterpieces for the girls that awe and inspire. I watch, I learn, but I am just not that good. My cakes look exactly what they are - the homemade by mother cake. They usually taste good - honest - but they never look like one of Francine's cakes. There is only so much I can achieve on this front. This year's cake had a little twist. It wasn't the best tasting but it looked cool - or so I thought.

Amazing what you can do with a little food colouring!

Finally, and most proudly, I love the fact that my creating things at home leads to the girls doing the same. Now that they are eight and ten they are being trusted with more. I let them use my sewing macine, which was a huge leap in faith for me. Lately I have even let them use the rotary cutter. That just about kills me but there is only one way to learn certain things and that is by doing. They both have the same technique. Climb up onto the table and kneel on the quilt ruler to hold it still and then use the rotary cutter. I bite my tongue and watch like a hawk but no incidents to date I am pleased to announce.

They are starting to understand that precise cutting leads to easier piecing and enjoy going through my fabric and combining them in their own ways. Fabric choice goes something like this. "Can I use this please, Mum?" That is followed by either a "Yes", or a frantic "No" as I make a lunge for some hoarded piece of fabric that I have been planning to use for four or five years but haven't got around to it yet. Why do I do this? Note to self - buy fabric then use fabric or why bother buying it?!?!

Both girls are terrific sewers but what I wanted to show you today was what Emily (my eight year old) made Helen for her tenth birthday. The fabrics were chosen by Emily. It was cut by her, pieced by her, quilted by her but (I have to admit) I did the binding. She even sewed some embroidery stitches using the machine, which she seems to know how to program better than me now. You can just see these stitches in the bottom dark pink patch.

Isn't it terrific?

Drat. The post woman just came and no fabric. I am waiting for four deliveries with bated breath. When I get them I will give you a look. Meanwhile there is stuff to be done. Enjoy the day.


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