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Christmas lists


I don’t know about you but I find choosing present for the children tricky. From my perspective they have everything they can possible need. From their perspective they are hoping for the wow factor with their gifts from Father Christmas. As they grow older charity shop finds don’t feel as though they cut the mustard (although last weeks find of a pin ball football machine is tucked away in my neighbours shed ready for the big day!). In our home this dilemma is made all the more tricky by their birthdays being 10 days before Christmas, and 10 days afterwards (we planned that well!!).

Our youngest has been requesting a pet for some time. He adores animals, a trip to the zoo is his all time favorite activity. He currently wishes to be a zoo keeper in the day and a rock star in the evening. However he struggles to touch a pet, animals are fine from a distance! We are delighted that he recently managed to overcome his fears and hold a guinea pig. For him this is an enormous step forward. For us this means guinea pigs are top of the Christmas list, in our efforts as parents to help to continue to overcome his fears of touching and holding animals.

But this is all about them and what they want. How do we continue to embed in them just how blessed they are? How they can make a difference to others less fortunate? As parents teaching them to care for others is vital.

On the run up to Christmas we have sorted toys for the less fortunate and given food for the foodbank (I missed the deadline for filled a shoe box for the shoe box appeal). My husband and I were brought up in homes where it was normal to tithe your income, supporting your church and charities. Nowadays we may have different perspectives on faith but the lessons learnt about supporting others remain.

This year Father Christmas will bring the children a gift of a goat for a family in Niger, via Oxfam. By buying the children a goat we are able to prompt conversations about supporting others in a sustainable way.

“An Oxfam goat is a great gift. Sourced locally and fully vaccinated, they’re fit, healthy and ready to supply a family with milk to drink or sell – not forgetting the crop-boosting manure.”

I recently learnt how Oxfam support people to run businesses within war torn areas. I was particularly moved when I read Qassim’s story.

Rokam Hamoud cuts a customer’s hair in his barber shop in Husseini. The shop was looted by ISIS in 2014, but support from Oxfam has helped him to rebuild the business.

Living in Iraq he was able to reestablish his business with the support of Oxfam. They provided his with the tools of his trade, enabling him to become self supporting.  A barber rebuilding his business and his life, one haircut at a time.

In our world there a huge number of conflicts happening. This Christmas lets take a moment amongst the craziness to count our blessings and consider how we can support others.

I would love to hear your suggestions about how you engage children in valuing all they have and considering the needs of others.





Image credit Tommy Trenchard

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1950’s inspired printing workshop

1950’s inspired printing workshop

I am sure you can imagine my delight when I spotted an email from Norfolk Museum Service offering a free print workshop for museum pass holders. Within five minutes of reading the email I was booked on the course!!

A local artist ran the course, using the new exhibition “Never had it so good” at Time and Tide as a source of inspiration.

I sneaked a few pictures (no flash was used!)



The printing technique taught was lino. I have to admit I have never been enthusiastic about lino!

Michael provided us with cut out shapes to inspire us. We were instructed to play with the shapes and come up with an abstract design.


This abstract shape formed the basis of our lino cut design.

Cutting out the lino took a little time (funny how everyone chose the small postcard sized pieces of lino to work with!).


Michael encouraged us to cut round our design, carving a little of the space around the shape away. Having printed one colour to then cut away more of the lino thus changing the print design, ready to over print.


I’m not overly struck with the design I came up with, but does that matter?? I had fun, experimented and met new people.


I have to admit I am slightly envious other peoples work!

I love this design:)

So what did I take away from the workshop? Personally the idea of using basic cut out shapes as a means of inspiring designs. How do you spark ideas?


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Refashion runaway – Mettalic

Refashion runaway – Mettalic

Last week I shared my sew along for Refashion Runaway. A friendly competition encouraging people to have a go at restyling former items of clothing. The theme this last week was metallic. It was a bit of a struggle to find anything in my local charity shops – I didn’t want to pay out and restyle a ball gown! I finally settled on a 1980’s handmade dress.

1980's dress

Its a shimmery slippery fabric from a manmade fibre.  The skirt has a reasonable amount of fabric in it. The plan – to make a top which can be dressed up or down, great for an afternoon or evening out.

Refashioned top, pattern free

To make this refashioned top pattern free I used an existing top as a pattern.

I started by cutting along the waistband.

use a top as a template

As the fabric pattern does not have an obvious right way up I could use keep the slip at the back of the skirt as the opening along the rear neckline.

I decided to add an additional layer to the front, with a shimmery transparent fabric.

Shimmery layer

This was tacked in place. Thw shimmery layer is stitched into the left hand side seam, the shoulder seams, and the front neckline. The hem of the main top I machine stitched, and then hand stitched the transparent fabric.

hand stitched hem

I made bias binding from the remaining fabric from the top. This was not easy as the fabric moved around so easily, but still no one is going to be coming up to measure and check the evenness of the neckline!

Handmade bias binding

The shimmery top layer is gathered near the shoulder seam.

gather at shoulder seam

I love the fact I have tried lots of sewing techniques new to me – for me that is the point of the sew along. Having a go, trying something new, not worrying about it going wrong. Will I wear me new top?? I’m not sure.. does it still look 1980’s to you?

To see and vote for the contestants makes this week on the theme of metallic visit Renegade Seamstress here.





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I am inspired by our wonderful world, creation is constant and yet changing. I feel it is important to respect the environment and where possible to upcycle/recycle. Blessed with creativity I try to appreciate it and develop it:) Thanks for taking the time to read my blog, please do sign up to follow my journey:)

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