Birthday dress

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Simplicity pattern 2320

Since dressmaking is my thing these days I decided that my baby girl should be treated to a special dress for her birthday. 
I chose a pattern for this dress that I have not made before. Simplicity 2320. It’s one of their project runway patterns. The idea is that you have a basic pattern with parts that can be chosen to suit like different styles of sleeves and of course the embellishments are your choice too. I like the little cap sleeves and I picked a gorgeous elephant print that I bought online from Cotton Kisses.
The first part of any new pattern is time consuming but once it’s been done the pattern can be used again really easily. I learnt early on that to preserve the original pattern I should copy the size I want onto new paper and cut that out. I use proper dressmaking paper as it’s see through so markings can be seen doesn’t tear too easily when pinning and you can trace the original pattern easily through it.
Next step is to get pinning and cutting. I was careful with this fabric to get a column of flowers down the centre of the front piece.
It’s not an easy pattern this one and must confess the square bodice piece had me muttering under my breath as I struggled to pin it to the front dress piece but at last things started to come together. It’s a satisfying process. I am sure anyone who makes and creates finds the same. Seeing things come together gives a sense of accomplishment which I’ve read somewhere is really good for us.
I like to do french seams on my kids clothes. This is where the seam is enclosed. It makes a nice neat seam that feels nicer inside and less danger of fraying.
The finished dress is great. I am chuffed to bits and my little model loved it.

“You’re a stay-at-home mom? What do you DO all day?”

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I found this article circulating facebook and love love it so wanted to share it.

My kidsI get this a lot. The people that ask me when I am going back to work or why I am not at work and not so long ago one so called friend who said “gosh you always seem to be doing stuff but then I remembered you don’t work do you !!” Faced with this I wanted a way to articulate really succinctly that all the “stuff” I was doing like trips to the Library, parks, castles, play mornings, church events not to mention weekend activities were all in the course of bringing up my kids and teaching them about the world, making them happy as well as me not to mention also being their chief cook, bottle washer etc etc in other words all round go to girl.

There are not many minutes in my day when my kids are awake when I am not being asked something, talked to about something, being requested to feed, clothe and generally look after somebody. And if you thought the biblical plague of locusts consuming the landscape was terrible to behold you have not seen the amount of food just a couple of kids can consume. I seem to be forever shopping for food or actually cooking food for them. In fact I make trips to the supermarket at least twice a week and no that isn’t bad planning it’s just simply the logistics of how much milk, bread and fresh fruit gets consumed in my house.

Of course I do have moments in the day that aren’t exactly mastermind brain taxing at my age I am pretty goInventing activities to keep a toddler busyod at colouring inside the lines without much effort. I quite like inventing and finding activities to keep my kids busy and interested and help their growth and development. I also get the odd few minutes when the kids are busy with the current activity to actually boil the kettle. I don’t often get to drink that hot drink until its been microwaved back to warmth at least twice over the subsequent hour but well I do get to stop occasionally. I must admit I like feeding the ducks and I admit that following a toddler around the play park may not in the grand scale of things seem as important as my old paid job once was or any one of a variety of other paid jobs. BUT …..

As Matt Walsh points out so well in the following article when I stopped doing my paid job I was soon replaced. Any one in a paid job no matter how stressful, busy, important, taxing etc etc that job is ultimately is just doing a job that if they weren’t there to do someone else would do. On the other hand if I and every other mother on the planet stopped being mum’s not just between 9 to 5 but all day what would happen to the world. Let me tell you now that whilst I believe my toddler is very advanced she cannot change her own nappy and make her own meals. My son is super smart but he can’t grocery shop or iron his own school uniform.

Yes I and all the other mum’s out there could put our kids in nursery. Are there enough jobs then for all those mums wanting work? Oh wait they would need more nursery nurses. Oh wait then I could get paid for doing what I do now for free. Plus I would get breaks, lunch, a union, set hours etc etc.

When my kids are both in school I like my Mum before me will find something to fulfill my desire to be productive and fill those extra hours. It may not be my old job because travelling and staying away from home is impracticable with two small children (which is why I haven’t been able to go easily back to my career) and of course I need to ideally work during school hours only but I will do something because doing absolutely nothing would drive me mad anyway. Not that I am ever not doing anything. I have plenty of things that not only save us money but also keep me busy. I bake & cook most of what we eat from scratch and hand make much of what we wear. PhotoGrid_1380021493110

I of course don’t want to devalue the amazing effort done by those mum’s that do juggle work & being mum. Not all of them do it because of their career’s. Some do it for purely financial reasons and I am sure would love nothing better while their kids aren’t at school to ‘just’ be mum’s. They do a terrific job and still manage to do a wonderful job of being mum’s & work.

It’s an age old question – that choice between work & being mum. In a lot of cases dedicating yourself to a career with long hours, pressures etc is exactly what a woman needs & wants but I am not sure you can do that and also dedicate those hours to being mum. Countless women have tried and discovered that something has to give, be it help with kids or less hours devoted to work. Some women have forged new careers building businesses that enable them to do both, perhaps working from home or creating an environment where they can take their kids to work. They are lucky. Lots of mum’s simply have to cope with work & juggling all the tasks of being mum & my hat off to them. But please don’t assume that mothers that don’t juggle that role with a job are less busy & the argument of who is the busiest is one that Matt Walsh steers his discussion away from because that is a thankless argument.

wpid-PhotoGrid_1391213863055.jpgI personally one day hope to turn my creativity like my TOTZ Sox, Sewing and Bears into a nice little cottage business that helps to keep us afloat. Eventually with more time I have lots of ideas to try & make that a successful business by adding other projects. Meanwhile I also plan to finish my degree through my Open University studies. But right now I am mostly just mum and please don’t tell me that what I do when I am home for my kids and looking after my kids isn’t important or productive. Because I cannot think of a more important and productive job I could do.

Here’s Matt Walsh response.

“You’re a stay-at-home mom? What do you DO all day?”

Matt Walsh is tired of people telling him how lucky his wife is to be a stay-at-home mom and to not be “working”. This is his message to those people:

It’s happened twice in a week, and they were both women. Anyone ought to have more class than this, but women — especially women — should damn well know better.

Last week, I was at the pharmacy and a friendly lady approached me.

“Matt! How are those little ones doing?”

“Great! They’re doing very well, thanks for asking.”

“Good to hear. How ’bout your wife? Is she back at work yet?”

“Well she’s working hard at home, taking care of the kids. But she’s not going back into the workforce, if that’s what you mean.”

“Oh fun! That must be nice!”

“Fun? It’s a lot of hard work. Rewarding, yes. Fun? Not always.”

This one wasn’t in-your-face. It was only quietly presumptuous and subversively condescending.

The next incident occurred today at the coffee shop. It started in similar fashion; a friendly exchange about how things are coming along with the babies. The conversation quickly derailed when the woman hit me with this:

“So is your wife staying at home permanently?”

“Permanently? Well, for the foreseeable future she will be raising the kids full time, yes.”

“Yeah, mine is 14 now. But I’ve had a career the whole time as well. I can’t imagine being a stay at home mom. I would get so antsy. [Giggles] What does she DO all day?”

“Oh, just absolutely everything. What do you do all day?”

“…Me? Ha! I WORK!”

“My wife never stops working. Meanwhile, it’s the middle of the afternoon and we’re both at a coffee shop. I’m sure my wife would love to have time to sit down and drink a coffee. It’s nice to get a break, isn’t it?”

The conversation ended less amicably than it began.

Look, I don’t cast aspersions on women who work outside of the home. I understand that many of them are forced into it because they are single mothers, or because one income simply isn’t enough to meet the financial needs of their family. Or they just choose to work because that’s what they want to do. Fine. I also understand that most “professional” women aren’t rude, pompous and smug, like the two I met recently.

But I don’t want to sing Kumbaya right now. I want to kick our backwards, materialistic society in the shins and say, “GET YOUR FREAKING HEAD ON STRAIGHT, SOCIETY.”

This conversation shouldn’t be necessary. I shouldn’t need to explain why it’s insane for anyone — particularly other women — to have such contempt and hostility for “stay at home” mothers. Are we really so shallow? Are we really so confused? Are we really the first culture in the history of mankind to fail to grasp the glory and seriousness of motherhood? The pagans deified Maternity and turned it into a goddess. We’ve gone the other direction; we treat it like a disease or an obstacle.

The people who completely immerse themselves in the tiring, thankless, profoundly important job of raising children ought to be put on a pedestal. We ought to revere them and admire them like we admire rocket scientists and war heroes. These women are doing something beautiful and complicated and challenging and terrifying and painful and joyous and essential. Whatever they are doing, they ARE doing something, and our civilization DEPENDS on them doing it well. Who else can say such a thing? What other job carries with it such consequences?

It’s true — being a mom isn’t a “job.” A job is something you do for part of the day and then stop doing. You get a paycheck. You have unions and benefits and break rooms. I’ve had many jobs; it’s nothing spectacular or mystical. I don’t quite understand why we’ve elevated “the workforce” to this hallowed status. Where do we get our idea of it? The Communist Manifesto? Having a job is necessary for some — it is for me — but it isn’t liberating or empowering. Whatever your job is — you are expendable. You are a number. You are a calculation. You are a servant. You can be replaced, and you will be replaced eventually. Am I being harsh? No, I’m being someone who has a job. I’m being real.

If your mother quit her role as mother, entire lives would be turned upside down; society would suffer greatly. The ripples of that tragedy would be felt for generations. If she quit her job as a computer analyst, she’d be replaced in four days and nobody would care. Same goes for you and me. We have freedom and power in the home, not the office. But we are zombies, so we can not see that.

Yes, my wife is JUST a mother. JUST. She JUST brings forth life into the universe, and she JUST shapes and molds and raises those lives. She JUST manages, directs and maintains the workings of the household, while caring for children who JUST rely on her for everything. She JUST teaches our twins how to be human beings, and, as they grow, she will JUST train them in all things, from morals, to manners, to the ABC’s, to hygiene, etc. She is JUST my spiritual foundation and the rock on which our family is built. She is JUST everything to everyone. And society would JUST fall apart at the seams if she, and her fellow moms, failed in any of the tasks I outlined.

Yes, she is just a mother. Which is sort of like looking at the sky and saying, “hey, it’s justthe sun.”

Of course not all women can be at home full time. It’s one thing to acknowledge that; it’s quite another to paint it as the ideal. To call it the ideal, is to claim that children IDEALLY would spend LESS time around their mothers. This is madness. Pure madness. It isn’t ideal, and it isn’t neutral. The more time a mother can spend raising her kids, the better. The better for them, the better for their souls, the better for the community, the better for humanity. Period.

Finally, it’s probably true that stay at home moms have some down time. People who work outside the home have down time, too. In fact, there are many, many jobs that consist primarily of down time, with little spurts of menial activity strewn throughout. In any case, I’m not looking to get into a fight about who is “busier.” We seem to value our time so little, that we find our worth based on how little of it we have. In other words, we’ve idolized “being busy,” and confused it with being “important.” You can be busy but unimportant, just as you can be important but not busy. I don’t know who is busiest, and I don’t care. It doesn’t matter. I think it’s safe to say that none of us are as busy as we think we are; and however busy we actually are, it’s more than we need to be.

We get a lot of things wrong in our culture. But, when all is said and done, and our civilization crumbles into ashes, we are going to most regret the way we treated mothers and children.

This article is re-posted and originally written by Matt Walsh on his blog. You should like him onFacebook and follow him on Twitter @MattWalshRadio.


How to link your facebook page to twitter in 3 easy steps

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Why link ??

Ok so the first question is why would you do this?

Facebook and Twitter, of course, represent two of the biggest and most important social networks on the Internet. And many people use both because they do different things. Facebook is a comprehensive social network where you tend to share more details and personal data with friends on their profiles. It also features like photo albums, create events and use applications, including games and quizzes.

Twitter, on the other hand, has a simpler layout and narrower focus. Twitter users share information in quick nuggets that can only extend to at most 140 characters. You can also sign up to “follow” other users. So, when you log in, you’ll see a list of the latest “tweets” from all the people you follow. This format and length constraint allows for users to see at a glance many short bits of information from their friends or favorite celebrities and public figures.

Although Facebook and Twitter have very different functions, you can see how they can overlap. People who have accounts with both networks may have information that they want to quickly share across both platforms. Instead of logging into both networks and plugging in the same information twice, you can opt to link your two accounts. Linking them would allow you to post information on one platform while automatically posting the same information on the other.

How to link in 3 easy steps.

1 – Use the facebook twitter link page

Follow this link to connect to the page : 

When you get there the page will look something like this :

Link facebook to twitter


2 – Click on “Link my Profile to Twitter.”

The page will change to this

Authorise twitter to link to facebook


3 – Click on “Authorize app. This will allow your Facebook account to post to your Twitter account.

You will see a list of tick boxes so you can choose what you want to have transferred. You might want to leave notes & events unticked or tick them all.



That is it. 3 simple steps.

Sewing and Bears

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Sewing and being creative is really important in my life right now.  Right up there alongside baking he he.  My sewing tends to centre around my bears and sock animals but of course I try to make extra time for some dressmaking too.  I think we all need things to do that make us feel happy. Things that make us feel good. Creating something, building, making all those things can help us feel destressed and give us a sense of fulfillment when they are completed. They occupy our hands and minds. David Beckham builds lego models. My mum knits. My Dad completes the crossword. I bake and sew. Sewing is considerably better for my waistline.


So a normal evening for me is sat with the sewing machine in front of me and something fabric like in my hands.  I love to see the end result and know how cherished the bears will be or how nice it is to have lovely unique clothes.  I choose a movie to watch or something I’ve recorded on Sky+. I feel content that the kids are happily snuggled up in their beds and I sometimes treat myself to a small glass of something cheeky.


The bears are my favourite makes. My daughter in particular loves the bears and a few of them cause tears when they get packed up for posting. This bear was treated to a snack and some small talk and she wasn’t happy to part with him. Lots of the bears just seem to be boys. I wonder why we think of all teddy bears as male?


If you are interested in having a bear made simply email me.  They are unique and personal to you.

Floods and sunshine

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What a strange winter we are having.  It’s rained and rained and rained.  It’s cold but not cold enough as it just continues to rain rather than snow. 


I was out and about today so I took this picture of a pub in Bransford which is between Malvern and Worcester near the river.  The pub is completely flooded out.  You can understand why I am dry at home though when you look round and see the Malvern Hills standing out. 


Apparently when Ordnance Survey were mapping the countryside the Malvern Hills were only a few metres short of being classified as Mountains.  I live about half way up so floods don’t really affect us. 


I feel sorry for the farmers though as this water must be affecting crops.


The Woodland around the roadside is completely flooded out.  I have never seen it like this before.  Time for snuggling inside with cocoa and movie and of course cake.  Fresh fruit loaf xx


Memory Bears.

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I have had a few bears to do this new year.  I won’t share them all but here are just a few.  These 2 were made for little girls and really show the different characters different fabrics result in.


I love when I receive the material so I can plan which bits go where. This baby pink bear is adorable.

Each bear definitely develops it’s own personality as it comes to life.


I lay all the clothes out and sometimes add little labels.  Eventually I will end up with a pile of scraps and a pile of neat cut out pieces. 


Each bear is totally unique and has its own personality and character.  I feel honoured to handle someone’s treasured memories and bring life to them through a teddy bear. 


My littlest loves them all and gives them plenty of cuddles and kisses before they leave.


Lucy Tunic

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I downloaded and printed out the Lucy Tunic over Christmas to have a go at and finally had an evening to sit down and try it out. 


I chose 2 fabrics that I like and that I thought complimented each other but they don’t have to match completely as this is a reversible tunic. 
I started by completing the flower side. There are only 3 pieces plus 2 little cap sleeves which I adore. You can add side pockets if you like. I did but wait and see what my critic thought of those.
I love the spotty fabric and have decided to buy some navy spots for a summer playsuit.

Once both sides are sewn you match them up with right sides together then sew both together.
The toughest bit for me was button holes as I am not an expert on button holes. Sewing buttons back to back wasn’t easy either but I love the end result.
My little one didn’t like the side pockets. “No like! “. She declared. I think front pockets are easier so next time I will add front ones.