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.