Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Handmade happiness

You might remember from a previous post Sarah at Red Gingham and I did a little swap together in the spirit of the Dottie Angel Ultimate Challenge.  Having sent a few tea towels winging their way across the world, I received almost by return of post a most delightful parcel of handmade lovelies. 

I would like to say, "Here is a picture of my new bag," - picture you have, but Princess Bunchy was hovering around as I opened the package, and immediately swooped upon the wonderful bag made of recycled jeans and gingham and claimed it for her own. So here is a picture of Princess Bunchy's new bag (I sneaked a picture when she wasn't looking).

I love Sarah's attention to detail in the pocket trimming and detachable flower brooch - if you want to know more about the way in which Sarah makes these bags, you will find her post here.

Sarah also included this wonderful little bird: the little Princess was rather taken by this, too, and wanted to transport the bird up to the chamber crammed with objets that she occupies up in the eaves, but I pointed out that the bird was for the Christmas tree and as such should remain downstairs in public space until the grand decoration.

The little Princess readily assented to this course of action, as she regards the Christmas tree as her own particular domain, being in charge of the art direction on the Yuletide display.

And just as I thought I was out of the woods, she pounced on this and announced in a determined manner: "And I will have that hat, too!"

Luckily, as you see, I could respond that it was a tea cosy, and thus a hat for a teapot, not for a Princess. The Head Chef was of the opinion that I should have let her wear it to school, using the gaps as earholes, but much as the vision amuses me, the act would seem too cruel.

So thank you, Sarah, for your handmade gems from New Zealand, and the retention of two out of three for my own use is not bad going when there is a Princess in the house to whom to give precedence.

The pleasure of receiving handmade presents set me pondering about some ideas for handmade gifts for Christmas, and although at the moment my mind seems to be drawing a bit of a blank for this year, I will make you a present of some ideas I had last Christmas that might come in useful for you, and maybe you could help me with some inspiration for this year in return.

These were all little stocking-fillers I made for Princess Bunchy last December. The little mouse all snuggled up in a sleeping bag was made using this tutorial from Molly Chicken, with felt from Paper-and-String. And the little cat was from a pattern in Sew Hip magazine (issue 1), specially designed to use up scraps.

The pincushion was my own idea, and a very quick and easy present: two squares of felt stitched together with double running stitch (do running stitch one way in one colour of embroidery stranded cotton, 3 strands, then come back the other way filling up the gaps with another colour of running stitch).

It is topped with two hearts and a vintage button; I cut out two felt hearts using paper templates one slightly smaller than the other (just use a photocopier to reduce to appropriate sizes) and pinking shears. Both of these projects are great ways to use up odd scraps of felt.

Finally, the idea for this needlecase came from Sew It Up by Ruth Singer, where I more or less followed her instructions exactly as regards size and method, just adding the buttons and bows myself.

Again I was able to use small scraps of fabric and felt - and I was obviously quite taken with the heart and button motif last year, because here it is again.

So if you have any good ideas for handmade Christmas presents I would love to hear about them, especially if they are quick and easy, as I usually end up sweating over the midnight oil at the last minute!

At the moment my mind is full of knitted handwarmers for some reason, possibly because my hands have been cold since October, and I will show you more in my next post. The Princess has only possessed herself of one pair, so far; I think the key is to knit them in pink or grey, then she won't like the colour.


ginny said...

Hi Pomona,
What great swap goodies you have received ... recycled denim always look great.. sorry to hear though that your bag has been pinched... maybe you could share it with your daughter(we often do that here)
i love the wee mouse you made.. my youngest would love that.
now.. quick and easy gifts?...brooches or scented hanging pretties are always good for girlfriends or teachers. Hair slides or bands for small people and pencil rolls are always a hit. My youngest, with my help, has made pencil rolls for her friends birthdays' this year. I really enjoy making presents for my family and and last year i made my mum a knitting needle roll. For my dad's present, i printed a photo of a robin which i had taken, onto linen then used this in conjuction with patchwork to create a writing paper wrap with extra pockets for stamps and envelopes. it's always good to find something to make for the men.. i have seen a great tutorial on a wacky american site (can't remember where) of how to create a pattern for a man's tie (basically take an old one apart and copy the pattern) so i think my dad may have a new tie this year!
happy creating and thank you for joining in with the novemvber gratitude,
warmest wishes
ginny x

Michela said...

Hey! Those were my old jeans!!!
Love Sarah's red bird! And you're so clever Pomona!

Isobel said...

Hi Pomona,
The bag is lovely, no wonder your princess wanted it for her own.
And what lovely Christmas ideas. This year I won't be able to make anything handmade, unfortunately.
Take care. xx

Pipany said...

All just lovely Pomona. I want that little mouse! Great ideas from Ginny too. I am frantically knitting endless pairs of fingerless mitts which I can do in the evenings fairly quickly. really need to keep some myself as I have lost my own pair. Thought I would mknit a beret for eldest daughter who loves such things. What about an apron (if she likes cooking of course), cushions decorated with crocheted flowers, oh gone blank now! x

The Garden Bell said...

Wow. What a delightful blog today of you swap. Colors galore. Treasure to my eyes. Love the little red birdie. Reminds me of the one's a bunch of us are crocheting from Lucy in Attic24 pattern.

Did I tell you I want that jean bag?....he-he...

marigold jam said...

Lovely things in your swap package and also those you made yourself. I have been making little knitted hearts as you might know and am currently knitting a couple of little dolls - I'll show you these later when they are finished) aprons, bags of all kinds, flower corsages knitted or crocheted, scarves, jewellery, hot water bottle covers (do people use them nowadays or prefer electric blankets? -any help?


Kelly said...

What great swap goodies!
Love all the bits you made Princess Bunchy too very clever!

Lola Nova said...

What a great swap parcel and I love your handmade gifts from last year. A good source for ideas can be found here
they are putting on the 3rd annual "Handmade Holidays", for the month of Nov. they have gathered tutorials from blogland and post about 5 of them every day. Dottie's garland was featured and they have asked if they could post my wallet tutorial (such an honor). I quite like all the projects they have chosen thus far.

As for me, I am trying to figure out how to make a 'Coraline' doll, as requested by miss ringlet, wish me luck.

heidi said...

oohh pomona you do make me smile,you have a great sence of humour!! Imagine if you had sent princess bunchy too school with the tea cosey on?!! xx

Serenata said...

The bag looks great. I'm hoping to make another one soon with a pair of jeans I bought that don't fit!

I have a book on CBT, the doctor hasn't suggested that as yet probably as it has been tried before - Pre op. It's getting worse each day, so I hope this pills kick in quick as I'm getting crafting withdrawal symptoms!

andamento said...

The gifts from Sarah are all beautiful! Hard to choose which one I like best.

Love your little mouse and cat too.

Tabiboo said...

I don't blame Princess Bunchy - I would of pinched the bag as well if i'd been loitering!

All such wonderful gifts and I love last years stocking fillers thoough I'm on the look out for ideas too so if I come across any I'll pass them on.

Have a lovely evening,

Nina xxxxxxxx

Floss said...

I'm making recycled (and other) paper hangings in Christmas colours for all the families we give to, a bit like my red, white and blue ones. I like the pin cushion - what did you put inside it?

The things Sarah has set you are just great - out of Michela's old jeans? What a lovely bloggy link!

Kate said...

Hi Pomona

I heard of your blog from Pipany and Jeanne's Tales of a Cottage Garden and thought I'd join in the conversation. What luck to have been sent a stash like that! I especially like the red and white bird. I also have the Ruth Singer book and the needlebook you made is gorgeous. On the subject of presents, Cath Kidston's new book, Sew, has some really lovely ideas (including a needlebook) such as a hottie cover, aprons, bath hats and a variety of useful looking bags. Also some really nice ideas to be had in Amanda Blake Soule's Handmade Home - my 6 year old embroidered and made up the bookmark, using up some of my vintage fabric, and that is wonderful! Anyway, do come and visit me some time when you have a moment won't you?


Sew Scrumptious said...

Lovely things. I am in love with the mouse that you made. So cute! Have you seen these two websites? They have some great tutorials
Also this is a really quick and easy lavender heat bag tutorial that I made quite recently.
Theres a lovely bag/luggage tag tutorial at
and just found a gardening gloves tutorial at

Hope that helps!

JuliaB said...

Hi Pomona. What lovely things! What about a lovely 'dream pillow' embroidered on the outside and stuffed with some of your divine lavender??? I can't think of anything more dreamy myself and I reckon every Princess should have one!

I've been making fudge, and am thinking of making up some little fudgy parcels for xmas, to go with some home made pickles and preserves. And perhaps some handmade soap too ...


...Miss...Maddie's... said...

I must say Pomona; So many lovely gifts and each and every one is useful. Using up scraps to make them adds to their favour.
Hand warmers sound like the perfect gift, especially if the recipient is willy nilly like me and hangs their laundry in the great outdoors regardless of the freezing temperatures.(my part to reduce the carbon footprint)

Duchess of Tea said...

Darling what a lovely swap, I love the bag, so adorable. I am also in love with the little blue pin cushion. I can't stop laughing at the idea of sending Princess to school with the tea cosy as a hat, you are hilarious!! By the way the cosy is my favourite.
Take care
Love & Hugs

Sarah said...

They were indeed Michela jeans! Good spotting. I'll put another bag for you on my list when the Christmas rush is over. Please tell me if you want another red gingham one or would that be too matching?

jennyflower said...

You are very kind sharing your goodies like that! Princess Bunchy is very lucky, and so are you with all those lovely things. This year I will mostly be knitting scarves with matching brooches for Christmas, and swapping more for excellent chutney with an excellent pal. xx

Michela said...

Hi Pomona, you're always so kind...may I ask you to explain me the meaning of "bag Lady", please?!

Elizabethd said...

Lovely ideas for presents. I'm stuck on lavender sachets at the moment, my brain wont go any further! said...

Hello again! I haven't forgotten about the tea cosy pattern, I haven't rooted it ou yet, but will soon do! I love all these goodies, you are such a talented person. suzie. xxx OOh I am having a giveaway. will be on the post tomorrow, I may do one of those pin cushions as part of it, they are fab!xxx

cathleen said...

Everything is so pretty but I admit to having a weakness for the tea cozy. Love it!

Cottage Garden said...

Such lovely swap goodies, you are so clever Pomona, I can only look on in awe - my sewing skills are a tad limited. I particularly love the little cat pin-cusion - so sweet!
The jean bag is brilliant - it's funny because I had one very similar to that as a teenager in the late 70s - what comes around turns around!
I will be framing photos for my contribution to home-made this year, oh and jam and chutneys from the store cupboard. I love Ginny's idea for a paper-wrap though, may just give that a try!

Jeanne x

Florence and Mary said...

I love the tea cosy!!

Victoria xx

Simply H said...

Hi Pomoma, what a fab post! I loved the thought of Princess bunchy going out in the tea cosy!
And I have to make the wee mouse for my little ones! I will have to take a look at all the links everyone suggested x


Related Posts with Thumbnails