It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I have wheels!  We finally found a new - well, new to me - car.  The weather has since cheered up and school has broken up, but I'm happy to be mobile again, even if I haven't actually needed it the last couple of days.  Now that things are more or less ready for Christmas, it's been a quiet few days around here.  The cake is iced, the turkey bought, the presents wrapped, the decorations up... 
There was lots of year end testing at school, so the offspring hadn't had much time for decoration making this year, but out came the button jars again for them to make some more button Christmas trees for their contribution to the tree.  
These little felt trees were from a wee kit that I bought on clearance last year, thinking that I'd get the kids to make them, but I ended up making them myself on a night where mindless crafting was needed.
12-odd beaded snowflakes were thrown together, too.
We might be needing a bigger tree next year if we're going to continue this tradition of making some new ornaments each year...
Still, compared to some of the locals, our decorating efforts are rather tame:
This really is my favourite time of year, even if there is no chance of snow here.  

I'll be missing my family and friends, but we'll be having lots of British foods and traditions, so hopefully there'll be a little piece of home in our celebrations.  These days my American husband wears his paper hat out of the cracker without question...

I hope that you and yours are all enjoying the break.  Merry Christmas!  (oh, and wish me luck: I'm a little dubious as to how my Christmas cake is going to turn out this year...).  Take care all,

Tired out

I'm not normally in favour of putting clothes on animals (they always look embarrassed to me), but it turns out that I will make an exception if a) the reindeer antlers are offered for free with the dog food and b) the dog in question woke me up at 4.30am for no apparent reason.  He doesn't look too impressed, does he?
I'd love to tell you that my absence these last few weeks was caused by my spending all my time crafting away, but the sad truth is that most of my spare time has been spent either walking or car shopping.  The walk to school and back each day alone is 7 miles.  The kids have started to beg me to find a car that I like.  I'm feeling a little downhearted myself about my lack of success in finding a car.
Still, I am making a couple of small gifts this year.  Ok, so the kids are the ones that made the beeswax candles for their teachers. Yet again.  I'm too tired out to have any original ideas right now.  My contribution was just the drawstring bags and British chocolates.
The little aprons are for a friend's two girls.  I saw the idea somewhere of running the strap through a channel on each side of the apron, so that you can adjust the length of the neck strap by pulling on the apron's ties.  I didn't do a channel, just ran the strap through holes at the neck and sides.  It works, but I think that I prefer the old method of sewn on straps, adjustable using d-rings or something similar.  


(They're reversible) 

There's another gift on my knitting needles, too.  Then I'm done.  Which is good, as I also had to whip up a costume for my son's December around the World concert.  I signed up for Asia, thinking "easy: he can wear his jinbei pjs".  It turns out that my almost 10 year old is suddenly developing an opinion on what he does or doesn't want to wear, though.  So, a quickly thrown together shirt, with a mandarin collar and frog closures (made out of knotted elastic cord) it was. 
I actually quite like it.  I might finish off the seams properly, resew the frog closures and make some bottoms for it, for him to wear it as pyjamas (still refusing to go with the American spelling on that one...).

Well, I'm off to bed now.  Wish me luck in the car search.  It might just be coincidence that the weather took a downturn since I found myself without wheels, but I feel like I should apologise to the locals for the 4 weeks of rain and drizzle...

Take care,

Picking my battles

Laundry day around here consists of wide scale search and rescue missions for socks down the side of the beds and the like.  The few clothes that actually made it into a hamper still get dumped out for resorting:  despite being assured by my children's teachers that they are proficient readers, I am the only one in this household that appears to be capable of reading a laundry label.  So, I'm giving up.  Well, I'm lowering my expectations, anyway.  The offspring are now getting their own laundry bags, to fill willy-nilly,  
modeled on a peg bag that my mum used to have -
with snaps for easy emptying.  
I might still dream that one day they will be able to tell 'warm' from 'cold', but for now I'll settle for the all the clothes actually making it into a bag. 

Two days to go until I can start decorating for Christmas!  I'm sure that when my husband said 'not until after Thanksgiving' he meant 'after breakfast on Thanksgiving Day', don't you?  I need SOMETHING to get me into the right frame of mind for Christmas present shopping - the local weather certainly isn't helping.  Shorts weather in November is wreacking havoc on my circadian rhythm, yet I'm getting no sympathy from my friends back home...

Want to see some rubbish sewing?

Didn't even have four and a half days to churn out these costumes in the end.  Many conversations along the lines of "are you sure that you wouldn't rather be a cowboy - you have a checked shirt" were had, but the choices of Supergirl and Captain America were not to be budged from.
Still, if I'm to be honest, it's not like I would have spent much more time on them, anyway.  My normal sewing standards go out the window when it comes to making something that will only be worn a handful of times, mostly in the dark.  Cheap fabric, pinked seams, haphazard stitching are all the order of the day when it comes to Halloween costumes - that shield is made from an embroidery hoop, a scrap of fabric and some cheap felt, for starters!
Despite all this, the offspring are still happy.  Their mum is happy, too, as these costumes ended up costing less than $10.  Maybe I'd be more enthusiastic about Halloween if I had grown up celebrating it, but it just wasn't that big of a deal in England when I was a kid.  I went to just one Halloween party (mum let me cut up an old skirt, and I cobbled together a witch costume, complete with a cardboard hat) in the years before university.  Trick or treating was something I had only seen in American movies.  
Still, the costumes have survived two events, so far.  Just the trick or treating on the actual night to go, now.  Then come the days of their mum confiscating the best of the sweets for any bad behaviour in the days that follow... ;-)

Translation of the day:
UK English: rubbish = trash in US English.  It's also used to describe things that are poor quality or nonsense.

As in, "That book was absolutely rubbish!" "Rubbish!  That isn't true!" "Yes, it is, put it in the rubbish bin"

Best laid plans and all that...

So much for my KCWC plans.  We had an unexpected house guest, as they had quarreled with their intended hosts, and just like that, my plans were shelved.  Oh well.  This little shirt was finished right before discovering that I had an hour to throw some fresh bed linen on my daughter's bed and pick up her toys.  Please excuse the crumpled appearance: it was quickly shoved in a closet.  We went to Miramar Air Show yesterday, so I ended up with only about 10 minutes to quickly snap some pictures of it for the last day of KCWC. 
The light on it makes it look a lot different - it's actually quite a gauzy, drapey sort of fabric, that's slightly on the sheer side.  These pictures make it look more like a quilting weight fabric, but it's a lot lighter weight than that.
I made up the pattern as I went along.  I started with an idea for a loose and flowing type of shirt, then changed my mind half-way through.  Ended up doing one of the sleeves twice.  Why is it always the most simple of projects that give your seam ripper the hardest workout?

I had better run: now I've only got four and a half days to try and churn out some sort of Halloween costumes for my kids, as they need them for next weekend.  Take care all,

KCWC: Jinbei pjs

 
Kid's Clothes Week Challenge is upon us again.  It's a bit of a nutty week this week, so I'm not sure that I'm going to manage to squeeze in an hour of sewing each day, but we'll see how things go.  First up are these pyjamas for my daughter.  They're based on some smaller ones that we were given by some Japanese family friends a few years back.  I think that they are called Jinbei, but I might be wrong.  Hey, I've lived in America for 11 years now and didn't know that Americans spell pyjamas 'pajamas' until it was highlighted by the spellchecker 2 seconds ago...
They have a pleat running over each shoulder to add shaping.

Ok, hopefully I'll get a few more things churned out this week.  A couple of Halloween costumes would be nice - especially as my offspring have been avoiding all of my 'no sew' suggestions (what's wrong with wearing your jeans and a shirt and being a cowboy??  Tch.) 

Not a stitch

Not a stitch was sewn, knitted or crocheted... for a whole month.
Gloucester Cathedral
 Rhossili Bay
 Windsor Castle
St. Edward's Church, Stow on the Wold
Windsor Castle
Chipping Campden
Gloucester vs. Cardiff 
Morris Dancers, Twyning
Carew Tidal Mill
Stanton
Gloucester Cathedral
St. Govan's
Windsor
Rhossili
Windsor Castle
Mewslade Bay
Stanton
Corbiere Lighthouse
St. Govan's Chapel
Pittville Pump Rooms, Cheltenham
St. David's Cathedral
Rhossili
Stanton
Nr. Slad
Gloucester vs. Cardiff
Windsor Castle
Carew Castle
 Stanton
 Broad Haven South
 Windsor Castle
 Cirencester Road
 Bosherston Lily Ponds
 St. David's
 Carew
 Rhossili
 Carew Cross














Bath
Morris Dancers, Twyning
Bishop's Palace, St. David's
Painswick
 Rhossili
Choir practice, Tewkesbury Abbey
Leckhampton, Cheltenham
Caerphilly Castle
St. David's
Bath
St. Helier
 St. David's Cathedral
 Grosnez
 Corbiere Lighthouse
 Painswick
 Tewkesbury Abbey
 Grosnez
 Gorey
 Malmesbury
Leckhampton Hill
 It was a good trip home.
(sorry for the pictures overload)