The Gift that keeps Giving

Hi folks, how are you all? I trust you have recovered from the excesses of the festive season. I know we are still in the “season”, but surely now that the actual day has come and gone, I think it’s safe to say it’s all over right? This year Mr Dibs dragged me and Junior Messrs’ Dibs (born and unborn) up to his village. Mr Dibs grew up in a lovely little village called Heighington in the North East of England, and he always gets excited when we go up North. The weather in the North of England is usually worse than what we have down South, and it’s been known to snow up there long before we get snow in the South. This year however, there was no snow, which I thought was nice. I do not handle cold weather very well. Last year was really cold, and we had snow even in London and as a result, I spent Christmas week in bed, with a nasty flu. I was hoping for better tidings this year, as there was no snow on the horizon. Alas, I was still to suffer the same ailment as last year. I spent this Christmas week as well under the weather, and I am still trying to recover from the flu. It’s even worse this year because due to a certain bump, I am not allowed to take strong drugs to fight off the flu. I have been religiously drinking a mixture of hot water, lemon, honey, ginger and ground paracetamol. It actually helped, although my illness is dragging on for longer than it would have if I was actually allowed to take stronger medicines.
This year, as usual, Junior Mr Dibs was the recipient of many gifts. We are now struggling to carry all of them back with us to London. I got a couple of lovely things from my in-laws, but what I am most grateful for this christmas, is the gift that keeps giving. The gift of family. I am so fortunate to have married a wonderful man who takes me for the mad little madam I am, warts and all, and whose family have accepted me so wholeheartedly. Being away from your blood family is really hard, and nothing can ever replace that, but being with my in-laws makes me forget that I am not with my blood family, and for that, I am so thankful to God.
Sometime ago, Karen did a post about man crafts. My Father-in-law’s hobby is wood-turning, and he made me so happy last week when he gave me these……

A small button fascinator block

A slightly bigger fascinator block

A beret block

a pill-box block (left rear) and a stand for the blocks.
Here are all of them.
Yes folks, my very own hat blocks. These are not the full head sized ones. These will be used to make cocktail hats, or fascinators if you will. Last week, on different days, he would make a new one, and not telling me, would place it somewhere for me to find it. Everyone knew I had a new hat block by my squealing. You’d see me sluggishly dragging my body into the living room, and then about 2 minutes later, a loud squeal, then you’d see me rushing out energetically, frantically searching for my father-in-law, to hug him and thank him. These hat blocks are priceless to me, as I know they were made with love, for me. If you’ve been reading my blog, you would know of how much I’ve wanted hat blocks to make my own hats. Getting new hat blocks from a hat block maker is so expensive, as I found out when I looked at these beauties. I was even going to make my own hat blocks, which I talked about inthis post, and was going to go for an interview to get on a  millinery course, but of course, with Mr bump turning up when he did, everything had to change. My family now expect me to churn out 5 hats a week…that, I suspect is their pension plan. I am so excited about having these lovely hat blocks. I hope I can make at least 1 nice hat by the end of January.
I also looked around the house, and could find some of the things made by my father-in-law, so here are a few pictures of the things he has made.

I had been planning on taking pictures of the village to show you, but due to my little brush with the evil flu, I dared not venture out of the house. I did go out once, when we went to see a Sinbad Pantomine in another town called Richmond. I managed to take 2 pictures of 2 separate butchers. Why pictures of meat selling shops, I have no clue. I do suspect however, that this was my subconscious telling me I was hungry; as we went on to have lunch about 10 minutes later, in a nice pub. 

high class meat purveyors?…ahem….a bit fancy don’t you think?

 Food time….

Mr Dibs and I with the in-laws and Junior Mr Dibs
Phew….that was a lengthy post. If you’ve made it this far down, thank you. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope the New Year comes with positive experiences.

Crafter’s Ceilidh: While I still have control of my life!

Junior Mr.Maxwell is due to make his entrance on the 4th of April, and from what I have heard ( and witnessed) from friends and relatives who have kids, your life is snatched away from you. You become a prisoner to the little munchkin, and you have to have the skills of Angela Merkel to arrange a get away.

So imagine my delight when three lovely ladies from Scotland announced they were having a meet-up on the 21st of January. I will be 30weeks gone by then, VERY heavy, I know, but still possessing enough energy to brave a 5hour train ride to Edinburgh (I hope). It will be too late for me to take a flight at that time, because of  you-know-who, so train it is. Thanks Debi, Kestrel and Kristen for giving me an opportunity to have a bit of excitement before the wee bairn arrives.

My train tickets have already been booked, and all I have left to do is sit tight and wait for January to come. I am so excited. You will also not believe how kind Debi is….then again I’m sure most of you already know that. She’s offered to let a couple of us stay over at her house. Can you imagine? Her reason being she can’t bear to see us spending money on accommodation, when it could be used to buy more fabric. I think Debi should be appointed the Small Creative Business Tsar of Scotland. Does anyone know which Scottish MP I have to start harassing with this request?

Is anyone else making the trip up North? I know Karen and Melizza have already booked their transportation and accommodation, so that makes three of us already from down south.

Roobeedoo, I am PRAYING fervently that you can make it. It will be so nice to see you.

Blog Redesign

It is all going abit mental chez Dibs. I have decided I want to redesign my blog. In my wanderings round blogland, I usually see some cool looking blogs, and I always wish my blog could be that cool. The plan, I suspect, is to disguise the fact that my sewing and other crafty attempts are not up to scratch, and I want to dazzle you all into loving my little blog with the beauty off it.

Image source

There are so many changes I want to make to my blog. I want to launch a full scale attack on my header, the sidebar, the footer, the main posts,fonts,colours, the picture quality….the list gets longer the more I research the issue of blog redesign. I should at this point let you all know that I have no clue about web design. I intend to learn everything from various blogs and text books. Thank God for the internet, as everything worth knowing is available for free online…yes, i make no excuses, I am that cheap. I love freebies.

A couple of weeks ago I managed to stumble upon an html code to make snow fall on my blog. If you have not noticed my sweet snow yet, I suggest you go get your eyes checked. Next I decided to play around with my header. Fumbling first through Picasa, then photoshop( downloaded trial version, and miraculously creating the header.

Now I am tackling the sidebar, which does not remotely resemble what I want it to look like. Talk about some coding gone wrong. Unfortunately for you guys, you will be spending the next couple of weeks( months?) looking at the results of my coding errors ( of which I am certain there shall be many).

For the picture quality, I am currently trying to psyche Mr.Dibs into getting me an SLR camera, complete with a tripod and remote ( yes, there’s nothing wrong with being overly ambitious). I have failed so far in all attempts. I am hoping my new strategy will work. I told him to get me the camera as a gift when I have his son. It is only fair don’t you think? I wanted a baby girl, but since he robbed me off that, and had the gumption to give me a boy instead, I DEMAND reparations. I give him Noah, and he gives me a Canon SLR camera, which I plan on naming Chelsea. Now ain’t that fair?

Vogue 1091 Muslin

I have finally bitten the dust, and started actually sewing something. I have so many projects in the pipeline, but for some reason I can’t seem to find the motivation to get on the sewing machine.

I decided to start with something I deemed easy. Vogue 1091:

This is a test run. I used a medium weight jersey fabric I bought from Walthamstow market for £3.20/metre. Mr. Dibs was being a grumpy person today, so the pictures are not very good. I refuse to believe it is because he has got toothache, and blocked pores in his eyes. I think he is just jealous I have started sewing again, which only means I will start ignoring him when he comes home from work in the evenings.
So I am sorry about the picture quality.

I really do not think this suits me, as I look like a sac of potatoes. I actually look like I am about to go into labour in this picture. Gosh how huge.

I decided to tie a belt to see if I would look a tad better.

What do you think? Belt or no belt? or do I just give up on the dress?

And to demonstrate how vicious Mr.Dibs was tonight, here’s a picture of me looking like I was a part of 28 Days Later. Anyone seen that movie?
The dress itself is really easy to sew and very fast too. I used my overlocker. This can be done in under 2 hours if you are inspired. I decided to use a plain jersey fabric I had at home to see how it would look with a contrasting hem. I cut the sleeves with the borders of the fabric to make it interesting. I’m sure you are wondering why I went to all these lengths to make the dress look nice if it was only going to be a muslin right? I don’t know really. I suppose not having actually made anything in a long while pushed me to go crazy on a muslin.
So, what do you think? Yay or Nay?