Crafting, fun and friendship

Crafting, fun and friendship

Wednesday, 29 August 2012



I so agree with Elder Joseph when he wrote this beautiful and deceptively simple song of praise. It IS the simplest things that bring the most pleasure and harmony into our lives...for me anyway, the more so as I get older. So here are two reasons for me to smile..

G3 (with Ron the cat). My gorgeous younger son, who sometimes doubts his abilities, got 12 GCSEs last week, As, Bs and Cs and has been accepted to start 4 A levels in Ancient History, Archaeology, Philosophy and IT.

You did so brilliantly...we are proud of you and love you loads xx

Acanthus!  We have these amazing perennial
plants in our back garden. They grow from ground
level to about 9 feet high! Their common name
(in the UK anyway) is Bears' Breeches..why, I just  
don't know...
One of my greatest joys is to watch the bees at
work. They tunnel up into the deep flower tube, 
carefully avoiding the prickles which always stab 
me!  The whole flower vibrates with buzzing - it is
just the best thing and always makes me smile!
Even funnier is the bee having to reverse backwards out of the flower, looking slightly dishevelled!!

See, I'm smiling as I type this.
I adore its hairy legs!!

I could go on...but to the desk I must go....
Lisa-Jane, a lovely WOYWWer asked if I could make a craft tote bag. Now, I know she's very fond of pink so furtled around in my stash and found this fabric...and then I tried to do bellows pockets...The sort that lie flat against 
the side of the bag but expand if you put things in!

I got the instructions from The Bag
Making Bible by Lisa's quite
technical but very useful!
There are two pockets on either side and two normal internal pockets as well. But I wanted the bag to be rigid because Lisa-Jane will be carrying her trimmer in it, so used fusible buckram. Great result but a complete b****r to sew with!!

Other things I've made to be in stock for the craft fairs are this bright and breezy pinny and an over-the-shoulder pegbag (with a spotty lining!!)
And finally, in the midst of rummaging, I found this felt bowl that Julia bought me ages ago! 
I've got a tin of pink twine, a reel of 4mm red ribbon and my owl (made by my Dutch friend, Erna) in it - it's in line of sight when I'm sewing and reminds me of my wonderful friends and how lucky I am....


  1. First I must say huge congrats to your son...well done him....and wahoo he's ginger too [we have so much hints of ginger in our family and just love it :-) ].
    Your latest makes are great Jan...well done you.
    A x #68

  2. I can almost hear the reversing warning sounds as those little bee's are backing up 'Caution, this bee is reversing' :)

    Well done to your son, that is an amazing result and clearly the positive outcome of his hard work! Good luck with the start of his A Levels.

    Lovely makes Jan, you have some wonderful fabric's that are so colourful and cheery.

    Happy WOYWW xxx

  3. congratulations to your son in his achievements! have a great week trace x 48

  4. Well done to your son, he did fantastically :o)
    Ooh Lisa-Jane's bag looks fabulous and I really like the fabric you've used for the peg bag.
    Fiona x

  5. Oh I love all your fabrics they make me want to sew again. I obviously have sewing in the blood as I was drawn to the class to make a sewing mini album, and make one I did. I also saw an old singer hand maching in a "room" in Ikea and had to get DH to take some photos for me. Well done to G3 amazing results. BJ#35

  6. Congratulations to your son on his fantastic results and all the best for his A levels.

    OMG... I haver fallen in love with the craft tote and the idea of pockets that expand as you put stuff in! I need a tote that works like Mary Poppins bag lol. The fabric is gorgeous and you did a stunning job.


  7. Well done son, you have every reason to be proud of him.
    Lovely makes you have on there - gorgeous fabrics!
    Really enjoyed the photographs of the Bears Breeches and the little dishevelled bee.
    Thanks for sharing and for visiting me earlier - Hugs, Neet xx

  8. Good on your son!!
    I like Acanthus plants.they are triffids, but so sculptural.they are too big for our tidy garden, but their leaves are featured on many ancient art works.
    LOVE the sewn those fabrics.I am just starting patchwork after 10 years!! VERY RUSTY!!
    JKudy #11

  9. Wow! Congrats to your son! I've not seen those plants before, they're huge!! Love the craft Tote and the apron and peg bag are great too, loving the colours. The owl is cute and very handy storage too :o) x April #86

  10. So happy for G3 as he steps forward.
    Lovely cheerful fabrics for a grey day, huh. The bag for LJ is a triumph...never mind the bu**eration factor...put them into stock!

  11. The bag looks great and I'm sure the pink polka dots will go down a storm!!

    ** Kate **

  12. Congratulations to your son, my youngest (14) is pretty similar, he always thinks he's not that great despite glowing school reports etc. Frustrating!
    The craft bag is gorgeous, the fabric combinations are lovely. xx
    PS. Also love the name of your cat!!!

  13. How lovely the poem you wrote - you can be very proud of your son - bravo great achievement! Your makings are "absolutly fabulous" - I hope you will have some stuff at the WOYWW crop - I wouldn't mind a nice pin and that shoulder peg bag! Get ready for some business making! Ha, ha...
    Lots of hugs,

  14. Ps.
    I ment to say the poem you posted on top of your blog!

  15. Your Ron looks like my Moses.... well done to your son and love the bag. After many years I'm back in sewing again.... Fracnesca #77

  16. Hi Jan - CONGRATULATIONS to your son. What a great result. Keep up the great work as you embark on your A levels. You are so right Jan about the simple things. Today is grey, wet, damp, cold and utterly miserable out there. Perfect to snuggle indoors with family and your cozzy fluffy socks on! That tote bag is gorgeous - lucky Lisa Jane! WOYWW Hugs to you from Helen 73

  17. Wahooo! Congrats to youngest son for his terrific results.

    Very pretty merchandise you have on show here LLJ.

    Happy WOYWW.

    Sarn xxx

  18. I’m not surprised you’re feeling a very proud mum Jan, what a star your son is. Such an interesting choice of A leaves too.

    Your work room is looking very colourful as always and it sounds as if your needle had been working overtime with the bag (which is gorgeous by the way) the pinny and peg bag.

    Loving your flower too. Can’t say I’ve ever seen or heard of one of those before.

    Happy Crafting!

  19. Congratulations coming your way for your youngest son! Great achievements! Love the tote bags, how talented you are girl! Glenda 97

  20. congrats to youngest boy genius! well done him and good luck for A levels. love the totes and O em Geeee loving the owl!!!

    happy woyww #63 Mrs.C xx

  21. Yay, well done G3!!!!! I love Acanthus plants too - Mum has them in her front garden at home, so to me they are a very "homey" plant, same as Lilac....

    Love the craft tote - watch out, you might have started something!!!

  22. Oh WOW no wonder you're a proud Mum, G3 did brilliantly. Congrats to him and good luck with his A levels.
    You are looking very busy as always, loving that tote bag, lucky Lisa!!!
    My bears breeches were stunning last year but have done nothing this year!!! Why? I don't know!!!
    Well I must go and break out the orange again!!
    Happy WOYWW
    Hugs Lisax #93

  23. Wow... as always, your fabrics are so beautiful.. wish they sold fabrics with those kind of designs here.
    Riya #108

  24. Well done G3, and you for raising him! Love the bag and aprons and the flowers - never knew their common name before. I love how you learn so much online!! Thanks for stopping by - I know mojo will come back soon... thanks! Helen 40

  25. What a lovely happy post Jan. I think your Tote-Bag will be so valuable to Lisa-Jane or any crafter for that matter. Hugs Rita 88 xx

  26. I don't like it at all and so I won't be opening the parcel.

  27. Bwahaha!!! As if!!! I absolutely love it Jan, thank you SO much. The fabric is gorgeous - pink polka dots and tea pots, hello?! I can't wait for the postie now. Its seems it is very popular, as I suspected it would be. But is MINE! ALL MINE!!! Bwahahahaha....

  28. Aw well done that son!! Fab results. Your crafty makes are gorgeous. That bag is stunning and will be so useful I think. x Jo

  29. Oh Gosh I don't know where to start your boy handsome and smart, that beautiful orange putty tat he is just perfect and orange LOL I have an orange man too and looooovvve him to bits, although he is really peeved with me at the moment and well the bag, I love it. I have never seen a felt bowl before, different LOL

    Thanks for sharing
    Eliza #36

  30. Wow, what a great bag, love it

    Hugs Helen #71

  31. Me again, I seem to have changed to're #71, lol xx

  32. Well done G3 - clever.
    Love the bag and the apron - all of it. I haven't forgotten you, I still need to send you something, and order something. Will get there in the end x
    Famfa #22

  33. I want some Bear's Breeches! We do both love the simple things in life--that is the way to go! Your tote bag is so yummy, I love that fabric. How I wish you had a Michaels, you would go crazy there like I do sometimes. I must remind myself not to take it for granted. Maybe someday you can come visit--we need a meeting of our 51 Club! --Sandy Leigh #39

  34. Congrats to your son!
    You do so many amazing projects with beautiful and fun fabrics!! :)
    Mary Jo #112

  35. Yay well done that boy! FAb plants though I'd be out of there as fast as me little legs would carry me (not that fast actually....but you know me) cos I do bees nor wasps. Great makes as always, I'm so going to have to get you to make me something! I'll shout when I know what, but I love my bling bin and feel I need more LLJ makes! Ha ha will email you when I have an idea of what I'd actually like. Take care Zo xx 118

    1. Of course I meant I don't do bees nor wasps.......;)

  36. Very well done to G3, so he's modest then, not at all like his mum, lol!! Lovely makes as usual, and I agree, I much prefer simple things in life. Those Bears Breeches are also called Oyster plant too but no idea why! I know all the column tops in Roman is it?, Greek maybe, colums are mostly based on Acanthus leaves. I'm not saying this very well, I mean all the decorative elements at the top of the columns! Nope no henna anywhere but on my head, you use petroleum jelly around your forehead, neck and ears etc, so any errant dye doesn't stain!

    Brenda 18

  37. Well done to G3, a for passing his GCSEs, two for getting on with studying his A levels, and three for being able to hold Ron the cat and nearly hiding behind him!!
    Love that crafting bag! Super cool and practical to boot!
    Want those flowers. We love to watch them with the Hollyhocks! As well as those blue/lilac things that look like painted table tennis balls! You know the things. Some sort of sea holly maybe? And finally, tarrah, we have finally got our teasels to grow! Bees love them all!
    We had the Bee Inspector round last night. Very nerve racking as there is a nasty thing going around from the continent. Ours got a clean and healthy thumbs up! Phew! We also know they have been busy in the last two weeks since we last peeked in so we can harvest the honey next week! Hurrah!!

  38. What a fun fabric bowl. Your owl looks like he belongs in it. Great sewing creations. The craft tote bag is nice. It is great that it is sturdy to hold the paper trimmer in it. That is often the one item that doesn't work out when it comes to tote bags.

  39. Congrats to G3 on his results. Love the craft tote bag. Great felt bowl and owl. Happy WOYWW. Anne x#134

  40. Well done G3!
    What a lovely bright owl too...
    Have a good week,

  41. Awesome results on the exams G3! Sounds very studious and smart and he is so cute!! Love the fun projects you have made. I actually went to the fabric store the other day and bought some Halloween fabric to make me a bag to carry around in to figure out how to sew again. I used to make all our clothes etc but a medieval wedding dress for my daughter in 1999 traumatized me so much I haven't even taken my sewing machine out of the case! Love that craft tote! Have a great week and thanks for sharing. Vickie #67

  42. Fantastic post, Jan! Congrats to younger son! Good-looking G3! Loved the bee/Acanthus story and your photos are stunning!! Sew many adorable sewing projects for us to feast on! My very favorite is the model, er, I mean apron!!

    Thanks for coming by my place earlier! Darnell #125

  43. A fabulous post and great projects made. Congrats to G3, what a star.
    Visiting from WOYWW.
    hugs {brenda} xox #141

  44. Hi Jan better late than never. Congratulations to your son on his exam results. Loving your bag, apron and cute owl. Hope you've had a super Wednesday. Thanks for the visit, hugs Erika.

  45. Hi jan
    Well done to Ron, its not easy all that exam stuff, hope he has had a good relaxing summer off.... college next?
    I'm really late today ... sewing cravats, ready for the mad batty/ gecko wedding!
    love the expanding bag, great fabrics
    janet #61

  46. More lovely fabric projects - the tote bag looks like a triumph to me! But the greatest triumph goes to your younger son... huge congratulations, and that sounds like a fantastically interesting group of subjects for A'Level... have fun!
    Alison x

  47. Wonderful projects you've been kept very busy.

  48. That is one very clever boy you have there and wonderful to see how proud you are of him. That bag is so clever, I can see how it was hard to make. Gee I wouldn't even dream of trying it.
    I'm in love with the apron, love those flowers and what can you say about the basket and owl but wow!! They has to be the cutest things I've seen in ages, it's great that you get to see them when you are in your room.
    Have a fabulous week.
    Von #44

  49. Congrats to your son, he did very well. And I lpve acanthus as well - yours look stunning!! Projects look great, especially the tote bag, very clever. And I had to smile, saw that very same basket in a creperie I visited when I was on jury service. I was wondering if I could do it as a project withthe kids at work, t looked fairly simple. Sans owl, that looks very complicated!!

  50. Lovely happy post, Jan. Congratulations to the uber clever and talented G3 - impressive results. That's an interesting mix of A levels he is planning to study - for Ancient History he doesn't have to study any further than me ... being ancient I've lived through a lot of history :))

    Love the Acanthus and have tried without success to grow it from seed. I love it's architectural presence in a garden.

    The tote bag is fab - the construction of those pockets is brilliant. Love the felt bowl with owl - cheerful and colourful and guaranteed to make you smile.

    Because I'm lagging behind and it is now WOYWW + 1, I can report that it is a beautiful sunny day here and I'm being tempted out into the garden. But first I have to sneak past the Painter & Decorator in the lounge and slip through the kitchen to the back door without hearing the plaintive cry, Is the kettle on yet? What's the betting I don't succeed :))

    Hope you have a wonderful week with plenty more to make you smile. Elizabeth x #101

  51. Hello LLJ,

    I just love that plant -- 9 feet tall?!? Holy moly. The stalk reminds me of a hollyhock for some reason. It's fun seeing the little creatures. This morning as I was leaving to come to work a robin was at my bird bath and a chipmunk ran right across the steps in front of me. I felt like I was in the middle of a forest meadow!

    The tote bag looks great! I like the peg holder too.

    Still nosing around desks even though it's Thursday.

    Happy WOYWW
    Hugs, Kay #17

  52. What a lovely bag! The bag I mean not you for making it for LLJ!

    In a rush dashing around desks while my other half and the children are swimming


  53. What an excellent young man your son is! Pom Pom and I were discussing how wonderful our children are and I'm glad to see how proud you are of yours.

    You do such pretty work! I love that fabric with the cups and saucers. Very retro!

    Have a great WOYWW!

  54. Love your post today and congratulations to your son, what a star! Your work is always to bright and cheerful - fabulous! Have a good week xx #80

  55. I have no idea what day it is,

    I am an 'oldster' at work, a youngster is struggling with 'discipline' with his 18 month old, I said to him, be patient, be kind, but keep repeating your simple message about what is okay and what is not okay. later you will also have to be patient and explain why, do so honestly and repeatedly... then as he becomes less a child and more a person you will have to accept his 'take' on your messages... but i promise you, in twenty years your son will take away your breath you will be so proud of how he turned out...

    yes tis simple

    but darned hard work!

    well done on producing a good 'un!


  56. Bees and children all go about their business and can look a bit scruffy on the way but they do so well. Love the photo of your two redheads. Lovely to share you noticing the little and simple things. Our garden has lots of baby skinks at the moment. They are about 40mm long and only 3 or 4 mm wide - beautifully proportioned, nearly black and shiny lizards. Shy as anything and gone in a flash.
    Thank you for your lovely message. I'm delighted that you enjoyed finding archie and co.
    Ros, #46

  57. Hi there Lunch lady Jan, another smashing post of course! (and matching poem to boot) and had seen the lovely bag over at Lisa Jane's blog, so I know how well it was received and will be used - wow that felt owl is quite something and your garden quite glorious indeed! Thanks so much for sharing ~ happy WOYWW! Shaz in Oz. x #28

  58. Hi there, You are so right about the simple things giving the most joy. I am very late this week because we had our annual family reunion. Its always on the first weekend of September and this year there were over 100 people there. (All of them related to me on my fathers side!) I sat there amongst all the noise of older people catching up, children playing ball games and little ones in nappies running around and shrieking with joy and suddenly realised just how blessed I was to be able to be part of this weekend and to be loved by all these people.
    Your plant grows here in my garden too, not quite so tall, but my grandies love to pull the flower out and leave ballet slippers for the fairies under the tree.
    Congrats on your son's achievements! Everything you make is always great, but for fear of clogging up your comments with a novel I shall stop here.
    Happy very belated WOYWW!
    Tertia #49