It’s New Year’s Eve. Normally, I would be spending this evening drinking copious amounts of wine with friends. However, as I’ve not been terribly well for the past few days, we have decided (for the first time in a very long time) to have a very quiet evening. So, while the husband is in a far-away place known as the land of xbox, I find myself with a bit of time to write another blog entry.  I’m quite sure you’ll all be far too busy celebrating to read it this evening but perhaps it can provide a bit of entertainment tomorrow whilst you are nursing your hangovers.

Well, with Christmas out of the way, I can now share a few pictures of the presents that I have made. It turns out that it’s somewhat difficult to be a domestic goddess whilst also working full-time so I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t manage to bake any tasty Christmas treats this year.  The few days that I had off in the run-up to Christmas were consumed with parties, shopping, cleaning and buying what seemed like an awful lot of food for just a few days (in fact some of it still hasn’t been eaten). So, despite my very best intentions, I just didn’t have a spare afternoon to spend making homemade chocolates or cake-pops. However, I hope you’ll appreciate some of my home-sewn gifts:

Tote bag

Tote Bag

This is made from Clarke and Clarke patisserie fabric. I fell in love with this fabric and, as I’m a fan of all things cake-related, I couldn’t resist buying a couple of metres in grey and duck-egg blue. I could also think of one or two friends who might appreciate this!

Napkins 2

These napkins were also made using the Clarke and Clarke fabric. My good friend Emma tells me that these will have pride of place in her kitchen.

Patchwork cushion

Dresden Plate patchwork cushion. Made with the fabric and pattern provided with the Cath Kidston Patch Book.

Bicycle bag

This little bag was made from a particularly lovely fabric (Kate and Birdie Bicycle in Teal) that was mentioned in Issue Two of the Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine (if you’re a fan of patchwork, you should enjoy this magazine). I found the tutorial on the Love Me Sew blog and I also made one for a Secret Santa gift at work (apologies for the poor-quality of this photo):

flower little bag

Napkin rings

Napkin rings

Now I have to admit that I am still working on these napkin rings. They are a gift for my mother-in-law whose extremely hospitable nature means that she regularly welcomes several guests for dinner and could do with a nice set of napkin rings to replace the personalised clothes pegs. The design has somewhat evolved over the past couple of months and they are all completely hand-sewn which is why it has taken me a bit longer than anticipated to make them:

Napkin rings 2

Santa was particularly generous this year and brought me not one but three new sewing books which I look forward to reading during the dark January evenings:

Sewing books

I am hoping that 500 quilt blocks by Lynne Goldsworthy (of Lily’s Quilts) and Kerry Green will provide lots of inspiration, although I think I will be sticking to the simpler blocks for the time being!

Finally, if you are a fan of quilting then you might enjoy reading Tracy Chevalier’s The Last Runaway. The novel tells the story of Honor Bright; a rather sheltered Quaker girl with a gift for needlework who, nursing a broken heart, emigrates to America with her sister Grace. She soon discovers that life in America is very different to life in rural Dorset and must decide whether to honour her principles or remain loyal to her new family when faced with the issue of assisting slaves on the Underground Railroad.

This novel has received mixed reviews but those fans of patchwork should enjoy the abundant references to quilts and quilting techniques and will no doubt appreciate how Honor’s ability to create beautiful quilts allow her to integrate into her new community. I leave it up to you to decide what you think about her character!

Right, I hope that I’ve fulfilled my promise to write a post about sewing so I’m now off to enjoy a glass of wine. Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!