5. Farewell jams

A major downside of the awesome new job (mentioned in an earlier post) was having to leave a voluntary position with the British Red Cross. A more wonderful, hard-working and hilarious team you cannot imagine, so I wanted to make something special for them to say thank you.

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2. Butterfly dress for Evelyn

So, time has flown and it’s February already! Having been quietly confident on 8th January that I would be turning out 3-4 projects per month, here we are and I’ve only just finished the second… But never mind, I am still squarely within resolution and hopefully I’ll speed up!

Project number 2 is a dress for Evelyn, the daughter of a very dear schoolfriend. Evelyn is the happy niece of several real aunts. However this has not prevented those close to her mum from self-nominating as honorary aunts. I am one such pretender. In my defence if you saw those cheeks, and that smile – you’d be an instant aunty too. It was Evelyn who inspired the apron project I mentioned in my first post – the image of a mum/daughter set was too much to resist – and when I saw this fabric on Leicester market, I knew her birthday present had to be a summery dress.

(yes yes I know it’s winter… but look at the butterflies!!)

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1. Makeup Bag/ Clutch for Sarah

Today is my lovely friend Sarah’s birthday.

I have always thought that birthdays so close to Christmas are deeply unfair. Mine is in early Feb and even this seems too close. People are penniless and partied-out from Christmas; the weather is terrible etc etc. My brother is an August baby and I was always deeply jealous of his sunny park-based parties.

HOWEVER , this year Sarah’s early birthday means she has the honour of being my first project recipient – a snazzy little leatherette makeup/clutch bag.

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The Challenge – 12 projects for 2012

The truth is I have never been a very dedicated crafter.

I tend to start things that are far too complicated, get frustrated and give up – either hiding them in the bottom of my wardrobe to be quietly disposed of later or handing them over to my incredibly gifted grandmother to salvage/finish.

However I can say honestly, hand on heart, that I had a thoroughly crafty Christmas 2011. Several threads came together: Firstly 2011 was the year I became entirely and hopelessly addicted to beautiful blogs such as http://www.makeit-loveit.com/, http://abeautifulmess.typepad.com/ and http://www.lovemaegan.com/, where superwomen turn out immaculately-photographed, beautifully-executed projects with frightening regularity. Secondly, I found myself at the start of November in a state of borderline financial crisis (I am attempting to pursue an impossible career dream – a long story for a later post) with a daunting number of loved ones who would be justly anticipating gifts for Christmas (not to mention a couple of birthdays).

So I raided my granny’s fabric scrap bags, flicked back to my favourite inspiration blog posts from 2011, cranked up the sewing machine and began to cut, sew, stick, craft and wrap. In total I made:

1 x quilted ipad cover
1 x decorated laptop backpack
2 x mason jar pin cushions
8 x 1950’s hostess aprons (including a matching mum/toddler
daughter set!)
10 x pairs of earrings, on printed presentation cards
20 x hand-stitched + printed Christmas cards

(There were also some boxes of handmade truffles and bags of cookies for the boys!!)

There were a few late nights, and more than a few wonky seams here and there that had to be unpicked. But they got done, everyone loved their gifts and it felt brilliant to have made so many things with my very own hands.

So my resolution/challenge for 2012 is this: just.keep.sewing. 12 months, with at least 1 manageable project per month. Let’s see how we go…