Only Eight More Sleeps ‘Til Christmas

I think it’s because my Mum and Mlle. Tialys the Elder arrive on Saturday for the duration of the festivities but I have suddenly realised Christmas is almost upon us.  It must be – I’ve even done some housework.  The spare bedroom was in use as a kitten nursery for a few weeks recently so I really had to get in there with the hoover, the steam mop and the cleaning products to give it a good going over.  Not that my Mum is one for running her finger through the dust but coming across a stray, forgotten kitten poo might be a bit much

Well, I’ve sort of kick started myself now and made a couple of extra gifts for Christmas.  Apart from a few gifts for the Secret Santa organised over at Sewchet, and the blanket I have knitted for my Mum, I hadn’t really got going with the handmade gifts this year.

I have got addicted to making postage stamp patchwork blocks and have made several for the block swap I’m participating in.   I have a sewing buddy and we meet up every week and I find it a little daunting to make things for other people who sew or knit because, obviously, they are more critical.  However, she doesn’t do patchwork so I thought I’d make her a little cushion out of a postage stamp block as it’s something she probably wouldn’t make for herself.Sandra's Cushion (1)

As I’m on a Fabric Fast (2 and a half months in and counting) I had to use fabric I already had but I wanted to make it a little bit ‘themed’.  When I go to her house for our weekly ‘sew-in’ (or sometimes we go crazy and have a ‘knit-in’ instead) she always makes a cake and, being half English, she loves tea.  I find it funny that, unusually in France, she adds milk to her tea – even the infusions – so the other day we had violet tea with milk.  Even I wouldn’t do that and I’m fully English.

So, I used some fabric which is all about tea, some with images of lovely cakes, some with sewing bits and pieces, some sent to me as part of the block swap and some that my friend had bought for me because she felt sorry for me not being able to buy any myself.

Sandra's Cushion (2)This is the back because I wanted her to see the ‘Afternoon Tea’ fabric in full.  Plus, my only purchase from a visit to the Christmas Market in Toulouse the other day.  There was a gorgeous stall selling all different teas and infusions.  The one in the photograph contains rose, apples and carrots and looks and smells like pot pourri.  I bet she adds milk to it though.

Mlle. Tialys the Younger was panicking because she couldn’t think of anything to get her Nan for Christmas.  My Mum is always cold when she’s here although our log burner did get the living room up to 27 degrees last Christmas and she did finally concede to taking the blanket from around her.  The rest of us were walking around in t-shirts.  However, we don’t have central heating and she’s used to it back in the U.K. – that and the fact she’s 83 and entitled to feel the cold I suppose.  Anyway, last time she was here she had a pain in her neck – and it wasn’t me that time – so I thought a useful thing to give her as a gift would be a neck and shoulder heat pad thingy.

I had this cotton canvas fabric leftover from a bag project and found a tutorial which was a little different from just a tube of fabric filled with rice or wheat.  This one is divided into sections and you fill each section separately so the resulting neck warmer is nice and flexible and drapes well around the back of your neck and shoulders.  I used rice and added some lavender essential oil so, it smells lovely too and that will intensify once it has been in the microwave for a minute or two.

Handmade Neck Warmer

Also, it folds up nicely and, tied with a bow, makes a neat looking stocking filler.

I’m going to see if I can make two or three more before I run out of time.

DIY heat pad

Once they arrive, I probably won’t have chance to blog much so, in case this is the last one before Christmas, have a very merry one!

By the way, you can find the tutorial I followed for the neck warmer here



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  1. #1 by Beth on December 17, 2015 - 21:36

    Wow your cushion is unbelievably neat! I don’t think your sewing buddy could possibly criticize it!

  2. #2 by Jan Marriott on December 17, 2015 - 21:37

    Are you losing any weight on your fast (snigger)
    have a lovely holiday with your family/

  3. #3 by katechiconi on December 17, 2015 - 22:10

    See? See? Told you I’d get you hooked on postage stamp blocks. Very neat and tidy indeed, missus! Now, will you believe me about the paper piecing blocks? Shall I send you the pattern I used for the tutorial…?

    • #4 by tialys on December 18, 2015 - 12:15

      Well, you could do and I’ll give it a go in the New Year.

      • #5 by katechiconi on December 18, 2015 - 20:07

        Righto. On its way over…

  4. #6 by poshbirdy on December 17, 2015 - 22:26

    Hope that you, cats and kittens and family have a wonderful Xmas, and that you find some nice remnants in your stocking!

  5. #7 by jendavismiller on December 18, 2015 - 00:07

    Love the tiny patchwork! Possibly a good technique for a beginner? Yours was definitely not beginner level, your buddy will love it! Enjoy your time with mum and daughter, Merry Christmas to all 2- and 4-legged family members!

    • #8 by tialys on December 18, 2015 - 12:14

      Thanks Jen – I hope you enjoy the festivities too.

  6. #9 by on December 18, 2015 - 09:27

    Thanks for your lovely Christmassy post. Don’t work too hard, so that you can enjoy Christmas with the family.

    • #10 by tialys on December 18, 2015 - 12:14

      I will try not to Viv!

  7. #11 by Dartmoor Yarns on December 18, 2015 - 18:36

    Lovely cushions. Especially love the postage stamp one. I must get back to patchwork. Have a wonderful Christmas. See you on the other side 🙂

    • #12 by tialys on December 18, 2015 - 20:45

      Thanks Bekki – it’s actually the same cushion but I showed you the backside too (ooer Missus!).

  8. #13 by Oh Sew Tempting on December 20, 2015 - 19:20

    Your postage stamp blocks are gorgeous! I know….because I’ve got one 🙂 Love the neck warmer idea too. How long do they need in the microwave and is it just regular rice grains inside?

    • #14 by tialys on December 20, 2015 - 20:21

      Just one to two minutes in the microwave and, yes, apparently just regular rice grains. I added some drops of lavender essential oil too.

      • #15 by Oh Sew Tempting on December 21, 2015 - 13:20

        I’m allergic to perfumes so wouldn’t use essential oils but I love the idea of a neck warmer 🙂

  9. #16 by Thimberlina on December 21, 2015 - 10:51

    Just been zooming in on your cushions! I’m getting into stitching all these bits of fabric together, and loving it. Yours is so neat! Is the stitching on top for fancy or is it quilted, or both!?! 😀

    • #17 by tialys on December 21, 2015 - 15:23

      Thanks Ali. It is ‘real’ quilting. I did it on the machine with a walking foot and just did a simple crosshatch design. The postage stamp block is constructed on a sheet of fusible interfacing and then seamed, which helps with the accuracy (a lot!) then I added a layer of wadding and quilted the two layers. Your recent ‘patchworky’ efforts were lovely and I look forward to seeing whether you do some more – I warn you, it’s addictive!!

  10. #18 by ooobop! on December 22, 2015 - 10:03

    You have such a good eye for beautiful fabrics. It’s been a long time since I made a block. I’ve got so many more to do. My quilt just might be finished by the time I’m 84! But thank you for your wonderful inspiration. I think some more might be happening in January!

    • #19 by tialys on December 22, 2015 - 10:16

      I remember your series of posts when you were making blocks. I now have 36 gorgeous ones from all over the World because of the block swap I’ve been participating in. I don’t know when I’m going to get round to sewing them all together, let alone quilting them but I know it will get done one of these days and I’m sure the same will happen with your blocks – the urge will just seize you again and off you’ll go.

  11. #20 by dezertsuz on January 1, 2016 - 20:35

    And you make gifts, and I don’t! I love the pillow, and the neck warmer looks terrific. So is the fabric fast over?

    • #21 by tialys on January 2, 2016 - 13:18

      It’s not over until 1st September 😦 I went crazy and vowed to do the fast for a whole year. I am over compensating with yarn purchases.

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