Pom pom flowers…

My last blog was about my discovery of ingenious bits of kit known as pom pom makers. This week, when I’ve had a few spare moments I’ve been building up my stash of fuzzies. 

The colours were inspired by my biggest girl who has a passion for vibrant pink (no pastels for her!) 
My cousin got married last year and gave me a gorgeous white enamel jug from one of her centrepieces. Now anyone who knows me will know I’m not a great lover of flowers – sure they’re lovely to look at but I don’t look after them well and don’t take great pleasure in arranging them and tending to them. 
So…after a moments pinterest-ing, I took it upon myself to make some pom pom flowers. 

Pom poms, florist wire and a hot glue gun. In all, these probably took just over an hour start to finish! 
No water, no arranging, and the best bit? I can make some more in different colours when the mood takes me. 
Until next time, 
Toni xx 

Pom pom fun

On Saturday mornings when my husband hasn’t been on a night shift the night before, he usually gives me a lie in. This week however I stepped up and returned the favour 🙂 

As the littlest insists on rising at 5am despite all my best efforts, I have to have a range of activities to keep them occupied. I hold my hands up now and say for the first hour, the time is passed watching tv and singing songs while  copious amounts of coffee get drunk. 
A few months ago, I had a bright idea to make pom poms with my biggest. After all I remember making them as a child and I loved it…..well let me tell you they were some rose tinted spectacles I was using when remembering my childhood. 
Making pom poms is awful. I excitedly cut out the cardboard rings and set about wrapping it with wool. I handed it over to Bella and showed her what to do – proud that I was imparting some crafty wisdom to my daughter.
Mere minutes later, I got it handed back with the cry ‘I’m bored’ my heart sank and dreams of mother daughter bonding making pom poms faded into the distance. So off I went determined to finish it…. I must have spent hours winding wool round those silly rings. To this day, the infamous pom pom sits on my desk unfinished. 

Then I turned on Kirsty Allsop’s latest series. It was a revelation! There is a genius out there who has invented pom pom makers! I know I am not alone in this amazement – I have had so many wonder-filled conversations with friends and colleagues about them. 

Needless to say I invested in some. They range in price and I purchased a few sizes with the majority of them coming from China thanks to good old eBay. 

I haven’t attempted the complex looking blue one on the left yet… 

So this morning, a vibrant pink wool in hand I taught the biggest to make a pom pom. 

True, I had to start her off holding the two rings together 

But once I’d wrapped the wool round a few times she was ready to take over. 
It took five minutes max to wrap enough wool round the circles. On the traditional version I don’t think I’d covered a quarter of it let alone wrapping it enough to make a pom pom. 

So we snipped the wool and tied the wool between the discs before pulling the discs away. 

Ta-da!! 

Two rather large pom poms in under 10minutes! Amazing! Now I know how easy they are I’ve got a few ideas floating around of how to use them. 
If you haven’t got one of these I would seriously recommend one after all who doesn’t smile when they see a bunch of brightly coloured pom poms? 
Until next time, 
Toni xx 

Why create? Surviving the days when creating is far from easy

There are days when inspiration flows, when I’m in the creative ‘zone’ and everything feels easy. These are the days I love. When I experience these periods, the difficult days seem very distant. I always liken these days to the times you feel healthy and you can’t remember what it truly felt like when you were last struck down with some kind of lurgy 🙂

Then there are the other times….days when you desperately wish to create and indulge in some crafty pastime but you can’t. You are devoid of ideas. You are disheartened by recent disasters or failures you were sure would turn out so well. You are longing for some ‘me’ time but you are simply just too burnt out. 

I often regard my crafts as a form of meditation; activities I can indulge in and let my mind wander, that I can relax with and switch off from whatever chatter is in my head. It is so easy when we are feeling run down to ignore the things that make us happy. I often push them aside, convincing myself I will return to them when I am more relaxed, focused or energetic. Just like meditation though, it is these times when I need to do something – even if I can only sew or cross stitch for five minutes. In those five minutes I seem to regain a small part of myself once again so I do feel more relaxed, focused and energetic! 
I shared on Facebook the other day that I have a key ring that says ‘Sewing mends the soul’. For me, I feel this encapsulates the whole reason I create – even when it would be easier to just give up. Even if no one bought or admired my creations, I would still have to create something because it’s my way of processing life when nothing seems to make sense, my way of finding time for myself when life is pulling me in many different directions.
So….when I’m happy I tackle the adventurous stuff – new ideas, templates and prototypes. When I’m having just one of those days however, I do something ‘gentler’ like cross stitch or hand sewing. Either way, each task is a journey where I come out the other side feeling a bit more refreshed and who doesn’t want that? 
I hope you find your medicinal pastime that calms you in those difficult times and the courage to indulge when it’s easier but less satisfying to turn on the TV. 
Until next time, 
Toni xx 

My favourite thing….

Now while raindrops on roses and bright copper kettles are nice, there is one item in my sewing kit that I wouldn’t swap for the world. This treasured item is my pair of embroidery scissors.

I actually bought a pair for my brother’s girlfriend as a birthday gift, secretly wanting to keep them for myself. Made in Sheffield I knew they would be excellent quality and they came with a life time guarantee. 
So imagine my surprise and happiness when a month later I received a pair from them for Christmas. 

It is three years on now and they are as good as the day I first used them and anyone who knows me or is a fan of my Facebook page Dollies Daydream then you will know I partake in quite a bit of embroidery; from cross stitch to personalising many of my creations. 
If anyone is in need of a pair of embroidery, hobby or dressmakers scissors I can highly recommend this company. They even do kitchen, garden and left handed scissors.  If you want to pop over and have a nosy, you can find them here.

Until next time,

Toni xx

Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans

I’m sure you are all familiar with this quote. I’ve certainly read it and smiled to myself. Today, I look at it and it really resonates with me. 

Today, I became an Aunty. We welcomed the arrival of a little girl who wasn’t expected until May. Once again, life has reminded me that while we may have expectations and ideas about the future, we never know what’s round the corner. 
I don’t know about you but I am a person who likes to know what’s happening and what to expect. I’m not a fan of uncertainty. I’m not a fan of the unknown.   Looking back, I have softened slightly and become more flexible, possibly as a result of maturity and life experience but also I think because of my own children; their spontaneity, unpredictability and energy. 
I have grown, but I have also accepted that I may never fully erase this characteristic. What I am learning to do is live with it. 
In the past, this inability to deal with uncertainty has forced me to react. I admit some of these reactions have worked out, most of the time however, they have not. What I’m learning is if I ‘go with the flow’ and deal with life as it unfolds rather than trying to control things, life can present some amazing surprises I could never have imagined. Similarly, it can present me with challenges that encourage me to grow, change and learn.
We make plans and while I struggle with uncertainty, I realise I don’t want to fight  it anymore. I don’t want to live with the illusion that I can control life (wow – when I read that I’m hit by how unreasonable and crazy that belief is) I want to accept life and experience the highs and lows it brings. 
So, how will I cope with the moments when I can’t deal with life’s twists and turns? 
Maybe I’ll write a blog, listen to some good music, read a book or create something. Maybe I will play even more with my children or go for a walk. If things get really bad, I will do the best I can and take things one day/hour/minute at a time. 
Working towards a more balanced and sane me…. 
Until next time, 
Toni xx  

Why buy when you can make?

A few weeks ago my cousin gave birth to a gorgeous baby boy and we had arranged to visit today. 

Knowing how much clothing babies receive I decided to create a wreath for his nursery with his name written in stars. 
 
Now usually, I would have nipped to the shop and bought some pretty ‘congratulations’ or ‘baby boy’ paper and cards because it was easy. However, with my recent pledge in mind I decided to put some time aside and make some. 

 

The crazy thing is, as I’ve already mentioned, I have quite a few stamps I’ve bought and been given over the years, I have blank cards and envelopes and I have a large roll of brown paper. Yes, it would have taken less time to buy some but, a little lazy and wasteful given all these supplies laying around 🙂 
First, I stamped a heart with pink ink over the brown paper only inking every two stamps to create hearts of different shades. (But I could have just as easily coloured it with felt tip if I hadn’t got any inks).

Big sisters gifts all wrapped up! 

Next, I used my stamps to create a card. I chose a congratulations stamp and a small star stamp that was part of a free set that came with a craft magazine. I used two shades of fast drying ink stamp – a pale and a vibrant blue. 

I then used this tiny star to print the wrapping paper. 

While I have used a stamp to do this, you can use anything to create a pattern/stamp. Just today I saw this picture posted on Freegle’s Facebook page that used an old rolling pin and some lacy paper to print paper:

My daughters have even used duplo and paint to print paper – they love decorating wrapping paper too! My Christmas present from a friend was lovingly decorated with potato prints. Although it wasn’t expensive, it meant so much more to me because they’d taken the time to decorate it just for me. 
Next time, I’m thinking I might go one step further and attemp to make an envelope out of pretty paper using a tutorial like this off Pinterest: 

I hope you’ve found something here to inspire you! I would love to hear about any of your homemade successes. 
Until next time, 
Toni xx